Climate Change and Infrastructure

Matthew Wald. 25 July 2012. Weather Extremes Leave Parts of U.S. Grid Buckling. New York Times.

From highways in Texas to nuclear power plants in Illinois, the concrete, steel and sophisticated engineering that undergird the nation’s infrastructure are being taxed to worrisome degrees by heat, drought and vicious storms.

Airports: a jet got stuck in asphalt softened by 100-degree temperatures

Culverts: 2,000 culvets were damanged by Hurricane Irene in Vermont

Electric power: down all the time now that extreme weather has become common due to climate change, storms from the June 29 “derecho” storm alone left 4.3 million customer without electricity

Levees: Billions are being spent on New Orleans levees

Nuclear Power Plants: Chicago needed special permission to keep a plant running since the pond it uses to cool with had gone above mandated limits, another plant had to shut down because the water used had gone down so much the intake pipe was high and dry

Rail: heat derailed a train by stretching a track so much that it kinked

Roads: In east texas, heat and drought SHRUNK rich clay soils beneath roadbeads, causing them to crack horrendously.  Northeast & Midwest: high heat causes highways to EXPAND and POP UP, creating jarring, potentially hazardous speed bumps.

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