Geohazards as Assets that Must Be Managed
Robert Bachus, Ph.D., P.E., D.GE, Geosyntec Consultants and Jerry DiMaggio, P.E., D.GE, Applied Research Associates
Thursday, August 17, 2017
17th Annual Technical Forum, Geohazards Impacting Transportation in Appalachia, Skelton Conference Center, Blacksburg, VA
There is a heightened interest at the Federal and State levels to manage transportation assets. Future funding decisions will be based in consideration of the performance of these assets. It is imperative that protocols be developed to assess current conditions of these assets and the factors that impact future performance. The authors believe that geohazards are geotechnical assets that must be managed, because poor performance of the geohazard significantly impact performance of other “traditional” assets (i.e., bridges, pavements, retaining walls, etc.). These ripple effects influence public safety, movements of goods and services, and the overall US economy. Therefore, it is critical that geohazards be recognized and managed like other transportation assets. For State DOTs, this need is supported by legislation (i.e., Federal MAP‐21 and FAST Acts) and asset management regulations and rule making by FHWA. While relatively simple in concept, the management of geotechnical (and geohazard) assets pose significant challenges to the geotechnical community. First, the concept of asset management is somewhat foreign to many practicing geotechnical specialists. Second, as participants at this Technical Forum recognize, every owner (public and private) has a somewhat unique set of geologicbased geohazards that challenge their organization. Third, while there are often common attributes to the geohazards across a region or in contiguous States, various owners and organizations have developed specific protocols for tracking and remediating these geohazards. Finally, at a Federal level, there are no systematic guidelines provided regarding the management of region or State specific geotechnical (including geohazard) data. As asset management programs are developed by the States and other major private and public owners (e.g., USACE, MTA in NYC, and others), these challenges have the potential to result in significant amounts of data that need to be recognized and managed. At these early development stages, the authors believe that a standardized system of data transfer and management will help all organizations and practices. The recently implemented Data Interchange for Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Specialists (DIGGS) format of data transfer provides a viable tool to facilitate geohazard data management. This presentation will describe how DIGGS can be used to effectively and efficiently manage geohazard data, without imposing significant constraints on the organizations responsible for collecting and managing their assets and data.