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Alabama’s southern roadways will be researched in influential study on climate change

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The University of South Alabama will partner with University of New Hampshire researchers to determine how intense flooding and rising sea levels could cause damage to American roadways.

Alabama’s southeastern coast and New Hampshire’s northern coast are the two places researchers will study. Researchers received a $1.8 million grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

This comes after Hurricane Ida left Mobile County with seven to 11 inches of rainfall over Aug. 29 and 30. Baldwin County also saw between four and seven inches of rainfall over those two days.

The project will use historical information and field data to determine why coastal hazards cause roadways to crack. WMUR reports that the study will not only look at extreme weather patterns like hurricanes. Gradual changes in coastal ecosystems like rising sea levels will be studied too. The study will also hypothesize which scientific models can be implemented to best protect these cracked roads.

Civil Engineering Professor Jo Sias overlooks the project. She said roadway damages not only affect the transportation of coastal cities, but it also alters the economy and lives of those living there.

The University of New Hampshire receives more than $100 million in outside research funding from organizations like NOAA every year.