Planning Considerations for Roads, Highways and Bridges
           U.S.. Environmental Protection Agency
                                  Office of VWbrter
           United States
           Environmental Protection
Office of Water
October 1995
                          Planning Considerations for Roads, Highways and
      The Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments (CZARA) of 1990 established goals to be achieved
      for the prevention and control of runoff pollution to our coastal waters. The Environmental Protection
      Agency (EPA) published Guidance Specifying Management Measures for Sources of Nonpoint Pollution
      in Coastal Waters, which identifies management measures and best management practices for nonpoint
      source (NPS) pollution control.

      Our roads, highways and bridges can be a source of a significant amount of pollution to our nation's water.
      Pollution is generated during road construction, maintenance, and use. Nonpoint source pollution, or
      runoff pollution, is created when chemicals, debris, fertilizers, automotive oils, debris from wearing parts,
      and litter are washed off roadways and bridges during rainstorms and carried as runoff to streams, rivers,
      lakes and bays.

      There are many opportunities available to prevent and control runoff pollution by applying management
      measures and best management practices during the planning, construction, and operation and
      maintenance of highway systems. Management measures are achieved by applying best management
      practices appropriate to the source of runoff, climate, and average daily traffic volume. Planning
      considerations to help control runoff pollution from roads, highways, and bridges are discussed in this fact

      Road, Highway and Bridge Planning
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Planning Considerations for Roads, Highways and Bridges                                 http //www epa gov/OWOW/NPS/education/planroad html

      Poor planning can contribute to pollution problems Wetlands and vegetated areas near waterbodies can
      be damaged by construction, decreasing the water quality benefits that they normally provide. Areas
      susceptible to erosion, such as steep slopes or land with loose soil, can be disturbed, causing increased
      sedimentation flows into receiving streams

      As plans are developed for new roads, highways and bridges, or for reconstructing existing facilities, best
      management practices to help reduce the volume and concentration of erosion and sedimentation
      produced by the project should be incorporated into project design.

      The following are some pollution prevention techniques that can be incorporated into highway planning
      and  design

          Evaluate alternatives for incorporating a road system or bridge into the natural
            characteristics of the site. Analyze environmental features, such as topography, drainage patterns,
            soils,  climate, and existing land use. Natural drainage systems can be taken advantage of, clearing
            and grading can be minimized, natural vegetation and buffer areas can be preserved, and sensitive
            land and water areas that provide water quality benefits (e.g., wetlands, spawning waters, etc ) and
            areas susceptible to erosion and sedimentation can be avoided.

          Preserve corridors for highways well in advance of construction to be certain that roads are
            built  where they are most suitably located in terms of environmental and economic
            considerations. Lack of advance planning can lead to locating roads where\er space is available, or
            not being able to build a road at all

          Avoid building roads and bridges where they will impact riparian areas adjacent to surface
            waters and wetland areas. These vegetated areas provide enormous water quality benefits through
            their ability to filter pollutants out of water passing through them

      Road, Highway and Bridge Construction

      Road, highway, and bridge construction and reconstruction generate runoff pollution by virtue of the sheer
      volume of earth that must be disturbed and topsoil that is removed during these activities For example,
      roads built perpendicular to slopes rather than parallel to them cut across natural drainage lines and create
      excessive earth disturbance

      Planning for pollution prevention and control measures in advance of and during construction can help
      avoid these  and other future problems

      Erosion and Sediment Control

      Develop a site-specific erosion and sediment control plan to minimize the impacts of runoff waters on
      construction activities.

      A number of provisions to lessen the environmental impacts of road construction are specified  in an
      erosion and sediment control plan, including measures to ensure that exposed working surfaces are kept to
      a minimum, silt fences and sediment traps are optimally placed to prevent sediment from reaching drainage
      systems, vehicles are washed when leaving a construction site to remove excess mud, and temporary
      exit/entry roads to construction sites are provided with a coarse rock surface to prevent the transfer of soil
      offsite where it will be washed into nearby drainage channels
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Planning Considerations for Roads, Highways and Bridges                        !

      Chemical Use and Control

      Store, handle and dispose of construction site chemicals such as herbicides, insecticides, oils, gasoline,
      degreasers, antifreeze, concrete and asphalt products, sealers, paints, and wash water associated with these
      products to minimize their entry into runoff. One way to do this is to provide specific areas where these
      products are frequently used, such as fueling areas and equipment washing areas. This can help prevent
      dangerous chemicals from entering surface waters. This measure also applies to proper storage of road
      deicing materials.

      Nutrient Use and Control

      Fertilizers used to promote the growth of vegetation on disturbed earth can contribute excessive nitrates
      and phosphates to surface waters if overused. To  ensure safety, a person knowledgeable of and certified
      for soil testing and nutrient application should be involved to determine the proper amount of fertilizer to
      apply in a given situation and the proper timing of applications to maximize their delivery to growing
      plants and minimize their entry into runoff.
       Road, Highway and Bridge Operation and Maintenance

       Road, highway, and bridge operation and maintenance involve inspection, routine and season-specific
       maintenance, and repair of not only highways and bridges but also the rights-of-way where drainage
       control facilities are located. The following are examples of some maintenance activities that provide
       opportunities to prevent and control runoff pollution:

       Inspection and General Maintenance

             Develop an inspection program and schedule to ensure that general maintenance is performed.
             Inspect erosion and sediment control devices regularly.

             Maintain retaining walls and pavements to minimize cracks and leakage.

             Repair potholes.

             Maintain energy  dissipaters and velocity controls to minimize runoff velocity and erosion.

             Properly dispose of accumulated sediment collected from detention ponds, drainage systems, and
             pollution control structures, and any wastes generated during maintenance operations, in accordance
             with appropriate local, state and federal regulations.

             Use techniques such as suspended tarps, vacuums or booms to prevent paint, solvents and scrapings
             from becoming pollutants during bridge maintenance.
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Planning Considerations for Roads, Highways and Bridges                                  http //www epa gov/OWOW/NPS/education/planroad html

           When blading gravel roads, take care to maintain a structurally sound surface while providing an
            adequate crown and drainage so that erosion or scattering of gravel are avoided

           Develop an infrastructure safety inspection program in conjunction with general maintenance

           Keep drainage ditches free of debris

      Snow and Ice Control

           Cover salt storage piles and other deicing materials to reduce contamination of surface waters
            Locate them outside the  100-year floodplain

           Regulate the application of deicing salts to prevent oversalting the pavement

           Use trucks equipped with salt spreading calibration devices

           Use alternative deicing materials, such as sand or salt substitutes, where sensitive ecosystems should
            be protected

           Prevent dumping of accumulated snow into surface waters or onto frozen water bodies

      Right-of-Way Maintenance

           Seed  and fertilize, seed and mulch, and/or sod damaged vegetated areas and slopes

           Establish pesticide/herbicide use and nutrient management programs.

           Restrict herbicide and pesticide use in highway rights-of-way to applicators certified under the
            Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) to ensure safe and effective

           Limit the use of chemicals such as soil stabilizers, dust palliatives, sterilants, and growth inhibitors
            to the best estimate of optimum application rates Try to avoid excess application and consequent
            intrusion of such chemicals into surface runoff

           Regularly clean, reshape, and revegetate drainage ditches to ensure they perform as desired. Keep
            ditch  slopes covered  with vegetation or other material

           Maintain shoulders, slopes and swales to assure their function and operation

      Road Cleaning and Debris Removal

           Sweep, vacuum and wash residential streets and parking lots

           Collect and remove road debris

           Encourage litter and  debris control management

           Encourage development of Adopt-a-Highway programs

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Planning Considerations for Roads, Highways and Bridges                              http //www epa gov/OWOW/NPS/education/planroad html
                   This fact sheet is the second in a series being produced jointly by EPA
                   and the American Public Works Association (APWA) to improve
                   knowledge about and efforts to control runoff pollution from roadways
                   and road construction activities. Working together, we can maintain
                   and improve our roadway systems and protect our waters.	
                           Sources of Additional Information

      United States Environmental Protection Agency Nonpoint Source and NPDES Storm
      Water Coordinators:

      U.S. EPA Region I (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont) NFS
      (617) 565-4426, NPDES Storm Water (617) 565-3610

      U.S. EPA Region H (New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands) NPS (212) 637-3700, NPDES
      Storm Water (212) 637-3767

      U.S. EPA Region m (Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia) NPS (215) 597-9077,
      NPDES Storm Water (215) 597-6511

      U.S. EPA Region IV (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina,
      Tennessee) NPS (404) 347-2126, NPDES Storm Water (404) 347-2019

      U.S. EPA Region V (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin) NPS (312) 353-2079,
      NPDES Storm Water (312) 353-2121

      U.S. EPA Region VI (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas) NPS (214) 665-7135,
      NPDES Storm Water (214) 665-7170

      U.S. EPA Region VH (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska) NPS (913) 551-7030, NPDES Storm Water

      U.S. EPA Region VDI (Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming) NPS (303)
      293-1565, NPDES Storm Water (303) 293-1623

      U.S. EPA Region IX (Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada) NPS (415) 744-1953, NPDES Storm Water

      U.S. EPA Region X (Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington) NPS (206) 553-4013, NPDES Storm Water

      U.S. EPA Headquarters, Nonpoint Source Control Branch NPS (202) 260-7100, NPDES Storm Water

      Federal Highway Administration Local Transportation Assistance Program (LTAP)
      Technology Transfer (T2) Centers:

      The LTAP program provides training and technical assistance to local/tribal government transportation
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      agencies on roads and bridges. For the location of the LTAP T2 center in your state, contact the T2
      Clearinghouse at (202) 347-7267.
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                                        Revised February 14, 1997

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