Protecting critical infrastructure against terrorist events is a need imposed on us by the events of September 11, 2001.
Although the transportation community has always responded to natural hazards, and there are procedures in place to design for and handle these, managing for terrorist events presents a new challenge. Transportation is essential for mobility and commerce, and it plays a critical role in times of crisis. Our highways are essential for evacuation, and in the response and recovery effort. However, our highways are also vulnerable, and can be used by terrorists as a means to carry out an attack. Because the challenge is tremendous, the Federal Highway Administration has been proactive by reaching out to stakeholders to identify critical gaps and needs. This has been accomplished through several forums as presented in this report. The input provided by experts in the field of bridge engineering and others has been evaluated and a program proposed to design highway bridges and tunnels for security.
The Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) national security strategic goal is to improve highway security and support national defense mobility through collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and our State, local government, private sector, and other Federal Agency partners. FHWA has further developed four objectives to meet this security strategic goal:
1. Develop a close working relationship with DHS and collaborate on establishment and implementation of highway-related security standards, administration of financial assistance for security initiatives, and distribution of threat and other sensitive security information to the highway industry.
2. Support national disaster preparedness, and response and recovery efforts.
3. Coordinate with our Nation’s military and transportation owners/operators to ensure adequate transportation facilities and operation in support of military deployment.
4. Initiate and facilitate research and technology development in support of a more secure highway system
This report, developed by the Office of Infrastructure Research and Development (R&D), proposes a plan addressing objectives 2 and 4 above. The plan focuses on bridge and tunnel security. R&D associated with securing other parts of our national highway system is being addressed by other offices within FHWA.