Flooded Pavement Evaluation in Post-Katrina New Orleans

After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck New Orleans and left the city submerged for weeks, officials at the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) worried that undetected weaknesses and voids in the subsurface pavement layers could eventually result in failure. They voiced their concerns to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and requested federal funds to address the problem. Infrasense worked with the DOTD and Fugro Consultants LP to document subsurface damage on 250 miles of DOTD-owned roads that were eligible for additional federal funding. 

Using GPR to collect pavement thickness, moisture, and material data, and combining this data with structure assessments from Falling Weight Deflectometer (FWD) testing, the Infrasense team was able to provide the Federal Highway Administration with proof that flooding from the hurricane had damaged subsurface pavements. The loss of strength for submerged asphalt and concrete pavements was determined by comparing the collected data to pavement data collected in non-submerged areas.