Louisiana deployed seven flood detection and traffic evacuation monitoring stations for approximately $200,000.
Made Public Date


United States

Summary Information

In order to better manage hurricane-related evacuations, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LA DOTD) worked with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to deploy Information Stations. Information Stations are USGS Hydrowatch stations that are fitted with traffic count detectors. Information Stations gather and transmit in real-time data on traffic and water level conditions along evacuation routes. Data are transmitted via satellite communication and the stations are powered by a battery with a solar array. The costs of these systems vary depending on factors such as retrofitting existing equipment, leveraging joint agency deployments, and sharing operating costs. Installation and operating costs will also vary depending on the functionality of the equipment. For example, some stations continuously monitor streams while other stations monitor only during floods, and some configurations require more frequent site visits. As of Spring 2003, LA DOTD has seven Information Stations deployed in the Lake Pontchartrain area with plans to deploy an additional 15. The table below excerpted from the report shows the expected costs for an Information Station.

Type of Equipment Purchase - Install Cost Annual Maintenance Cost
Hydrowatch Equipment
  • Data Collection Platform
  • Rain Gage
  • Wind Speed and Direction
  • Operations & Maintenance
Traffic Detection Equipment
  • Traffic Counter*
  • Permanent Loops (6x6)

* Includes counter, surge protector, solar panel, mounting kit, gel cell, and cable.
** To be determined; estimated at $1,500 to $2,500.

Three agencies committed funding for the seven deployed Information Stations: LA DOTD, Louisiana Office of Emergency Planning (LOEP) [now called the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security Preparedness], and the USGS. With just over $200,000 in funding LA DOTD was able to deploy, test and maintain the seven stations. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provided $60,000 to LA DOTD, LOEP provided $140,000 and the USGS made available some Hydrowatch deployment and maintenance funds. LA DOTD estimates the costs for deploying and maintaining (for the first year) the additional 15 Information Stations at about $426,000.

Although, the typical cost for an Information Station is presented above, there is considerable variation in the costs of the Hydrowatch equipment. LA DOTD reported the installation costs of hydrographic station portion of the Information Station ranged from $2,500 to $24,500 with an average of $13,325. For annual operating and maintenance costs of the hydrographic station portion, LA DOTD reported a range of $2,000 to $13,000 with an average of about $7,000.

System Cost

LA DOTD costs to deploy seven Information Stations: $200,000 (approx.). Information Station deployment cost: $26,000 (approx.). Information Station annual operations and maintenance cost: $14,000 (approx.).