Dewberry, a privately held professional services firm, has announced that it has been selected by the Calaveras Council of Governments (CCOG) to provide an evacuation and access needs assessment and preparedness plan. Due to increased wildfire occurrence in the region, the CCOG was awarded a California Department of Transportation Sustainable Transportation Planning Grant to support and implement Regional Transportation Plan Sustainable Communities Strategies.
As part of the needs assessment and plan, Dewberry will evaluate existing infrastructure by understanding evacuation routes that serve several high-risk communities and identify potential ingress/egress impairments that may impact the use of routes during emergencies, including unmaintained defensible space, narrow roadways, and poor pavement conditions; identify and document structural and vegetation related issues; examine how climate vulnerability may impact roadside drainage ditches and under crossings; create a forum for resilience stakeholders to conduct annual or biannual meetings to advance the discussion of improving the road network for extreme weather events; and share community training materials to educate residents about the importance of defensible space, preparing for an evacuation, and knowing where to gather information in the event of an evacuation.
“The evacuation of large numbers of people from vulnerable areas will stress the capabilities of road networks, potentially increasing the time necessary to evacuate the threatened risk area,” says Dewberry Vice President Matt Satow, PE. “Re-entry to the area post-event is also a critical component requiring an assessment of the road-network, debris remaining in the area, and critical facility operational status and capacity.” Satow adds, “We’ve served the Calaveras communities for the past 10 years, and we’re thankful for the opportunity to support the county in their efforts to protect residents and provide safe and efficient evacuation routes during emergency situations.”