Sea Level & Coastal Risk Assessment


Highway infrastructure owned and maintained by the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal was at risk to coastal erosion, flooding, storm surges and sea level rise. Baird completed Phase 1 of a province-wide risk assessment for these coastal structures.

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Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal
Province of Nova Scotia, Atlantic Ocean
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Province of Nova Scotia, Atlantic Ocean

Project Highlights


Sea level rise will exasperate the financial challenges for the Department, therefore a comprehensive risk assessment was completed to help the Department evaluate their most vulnerable holdings and develop a long-term maintenance strategy on a site by site basis.

  • Design parameters based on historical storm surges and wave heights
  • Estimation of future design parameters considering sea level rise scenarios
  • Development of engineering alternatives to reduce risk and future operational costs
  • Recommendations to expand the investigation to other types of infrastructure exposed to hazards along the coast

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Project Challenges


  • Change community perception that maintaining the status quo is the only alternative.
  • Develop cost effective remedial alternatives in densely populated coastal communities.
  • Predict future design parameters with consideration for sea level rise estimates and changing storm intensity.

Baird Solutions


  • Public workshops were held to convey study findings, present a range of solutions, and convey successful examples from other coastal communities.
  • Considered a range of innovative engineering and management alternatives, including relocation of infrastructure and retreat.
  • Applied a robust methodology to quantify the role of rising sea levels on design variables over time.

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