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Stantec Selected to Develop Resilience Improvement Plan for Kansas DOT

TOPEKA, KS — Stantec was selected by the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) to develop a Resilience Improvement Plan to help the agency identify climate-related vulnerabilities and prioritize solutions across its multi-modal transportation network, while maximizing funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).

The BIL established the Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-Saving Transportation (PROTECT) Formula Program to make surface transportation and its users more resilient to natural hazards and weather events. To fulfill this purpose, the BIL requires each state to use a portion of PROTECT funding for resilience-related planning activities, such as developing a Resilience Improvement Plan.

By developing this plan and incorporating it into the state’s long-range transportation plan, Kansas will be eligible to reduce its federal/state cost share from 80/20 to 90/10, keeping an additional $7.2 million in the state. Through this process, Kansas and its communities will be prepared for the continued operation and rapid recovery of surface transportation systems.

“The Resilience Improvement Plan development process, which includes a vulnerability assessment, will be a great opportunity to get all of our partners in infrastructure together to determine critical investments that will keep Kansas going during catastrophic events,” said David Schwartz, KDOT Project Manager for the Resilience Improvement Plan. “Being able to leverage federal dollars is a huge incentive to take a hard look at our systems.”

Stantec, with partners PEC and Hg Consult, Inc., will develop a public engagement approach that reaches a wide variety of audiences through scalable public webinars and meetings, a project website, social media content, and a survey of key stakeholders. Stantec will also conduct a risk-based vulnerability assessment using GIS with a 100-meter grid to identify assets in the state’s multi-modal transportation system that are vulnerable to natural hazards, particularly those influenced by climate change.

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“Whether a spring tornado, summer flood, fall prairie fire, or winter ice storm, Kansans are predisposed to be resilient by the climate in which they live,” said Rebecca Leitschuh, Project Manager at Stantec. “While we can’t predict the weather, we can help better prepare communities across the state for natural hazards through the development of this Resilience Improvement Plan. Our two-phased approach includes a risk-based assessment and an implementation plan that is meaningful, understandable, actionable, and replicable.”

Stantec’s North American Funding Program team closely monitors state and federal funding policies to develop targeted funding strategies to complete projects. The team’s approach will align the vulnerability assessment and Resilience Improvement Plan with PROTECT requirements and make recommendations on funding sources that might be available for the prioritized projects.

The final plan will be a visually rich document that includes vulnerability methodology, project prioritization criteria, and a fact sheet for each prioritized resilience improvement project. It is expected to be complete by June 2024.

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