Eastern Shore of Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Inundation Vulnerability Assessment

The Accomack-Northampton Planning District Commission of the Eastern Shore of Virginia, with support from the Virginia Department of Transportation, conducted a study in 2014 - 2015 to determine which transportation infrastructure in the Eastern Shore region is at risk to inundation from sea-level rise. This area is known to be extremely vulnerable to sea-level rise, and the research found that it will have increasingly significant impacts on transportation infrastructure, along with local communities, facilities, and economies.

Two separate assessments were conducted including a regional transportation infrastructure inundation vulnerability assessment, and a community and critical facility accessibility assessment. According to the results in the report, a significant amount of transportation infrastructure (including 33 miles of roads) is highly vulnerable to inundation from sea-level rise beginning over the next 10-25 years, and is projected to worsen. The transportation elements assessed included: Primary and Secondary Roads, Bridges, Causeways, Railroad, Culverts and Ditches, Signalization Infrastructure, Utilities and Right-of-Way - and the results are illustrated in a series of detailed maps for each type in the report. 

The accessibility assessment evaluated over 50 communities and facilities in the region that are potentially vulnerable to inundation sometime over the next 100 years. They found that seven communities may be disconnected or inaccessible during high tide and stillwater conditions beginning sometime between 2025 and 2050 with 1 foot of sea-level rise.

Some of the recommendations resulting from the study are:

- The Eastern Shore Transportation Technical Advisory Committee (TTAC) should consider relative sea-level rise and coastal flooding when selecting and prioritizing future transportation projects.

- Local governments and local operators of state and federal facilities should incorporate these considerations into emergency response, comprehensive planning activities, and economic development activities.

- Eastern Shore TTAC and Climate Adaptation Working Group should conduct education and outreach activities to inform those potentially impacted by near-term coastal flooding and long-term inundation of potential hazards and offer options to properly mitigate potential damages.


Publication Date: May 2015

Related Organizations:

  • Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)
  • Accomack-Northampton Planning District Commission


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Assessment

States Affected:


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