Improving Transportation Infrastructure Resilience against Hurricanes, Other Natural Disasters, and Weathering: Part I – Analysis of Failure of Transportation Signs Due to Hurricane Maria

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CAIT project no.: CAIT-UTC-REG17

Fiscal Year: 2018/2019

Status: Final

Principal investigator(s): Héctor J. Cruzado, Ph.D.

Performing organization(s): Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico

Managing organization: Rutgers CAIT

In cooperation with: Puerto Rico Highway and Transportation Authority
Partner project manager: Juan Carlos Rivera, Engineer

Supported by: USDOT OST-R

UTC, grant, or agreement no.: 69A3551847102


The primary goal of this project is to analyze the failure of different types of transportation signage during Hurricane Maria. The specific objectives are:

  • determine the causes of signage failure
  • suggest improvements to the design and construction to avoid or reduce damage risk during future hurricanes
  • calculate the wind loads that produced damage to signs so we can better establish the wind-speed design threshold  in Puerto Rico’s new building codes and DOT specifications

The hope is to improve design and construction of highway and roadway signs. Also, the findings could motivate ASCE, the Institute of Civil Engineers of the College of Engineers and Land Surveyors of Puerto Rico, and Puerto Rico Building Code Officials (PRBCO) to increase the wind-speed design threshold established for Puerto Rico, which in turn will affect the design of transportation infrastructure. PRDOT may also decide to adopt the assessed wind speeds for their design, apart from the decisions of ASCE or PRBCO.