Risk assessment and economic appraisal of protection methods for the Tarascon-Arles railway embankment
1 SNCF Réseau, Engineering Department, 6 avenue François Mitterrand, 93574 La Plaine St Denis
2 Irstea, Hydraulic Structures Research Unit, Irstea, Aix-en-Provence, France
3 SYSTRA, Programme Manager, Systra, Marseille, France
a Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
The coordination of flood management practices and the reduction of flood risk as proposed under the Plan Rhône project has led to a vast program of flood defence modernization and construction in the lower Rhône valley. One key element of the project involves the construction of a new 9km levee structure parallel to an existing railway line between the towns of Tarascon and Arles (Bouches-du-Rhône, France) on the left bank of the Rhône, which has historically been an obstacle to the propagation of flood flows. The new levee is designed to protect the towns of Arles and Tarascon up to the 10−2 annual probability flood event, after which floodwater will flow over a 5km spillway which will be integrated into the structure. In case of overtopping of the spillway via a spillway structure, floodwater is collected in the space between the two embankments and will subsequently flow towards one of ten newly constructed flood discharge structures, spaced at regular intervals in the railway embankment. The levee will form part of a global system of defence which is designed against flooding on the Rhône with an annual probability of occurrence of 10−3. In the event of overtopping of the levee, the railway embankment will be subjected to hydraulic loading and is at risk of damage from flood flows. During the detailed design phase of the project, options were explored for optimizing the permanent protection for the railway embankment. Using results from 2D and 3D hydraulic numerical modelling, a detailed risk assessment of the railway embankment was undertaken to evaluate its vulnerability under different hydraulic loading conditions and for different failure mechanisms using various parameters including water depth, hydraulic load, the duration of flood exposure and flow velocity. A comprehensive understanding of the main mechanisms of embankment damage under hydraulic loading (internal/ external erosion, overtopping, rotational failure etc.), existing geotechnical conditions and the railway embankment structure were required to undertake the risk assessment. For each hydraulic loading scenario, a detailed economic appraisal was undertaken for each method of protection involving the evaluation of damages associated with disruption to train services and the associated costs to repair the structure. The final stage of the project involved integrating the economic assessment into a wider reaching multi-criteria analysis including indicators for train security, maintainability and environmental impact aspects. The multi-criteria approach was tested under two management strategies to evaluate the effectiveness of each embankment protection system. This paper outlines how the risk assessment, economic appraisal and management-strategy based multi-criteria approach resulted in a highly optimized system of embankment protection with significant gains in terms of both reduced cost of implementation and environmental enhancement whilst maintaining the high levels of railway security required by SNCF-RESEAU.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2016
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