While pollution may not be the first thing that crosses your mind when you’re creating a plan for upcoming road work, it should definitely be one of the top concerns on your list. Roads, highways, and bridges can be a source of a significant amount of pollution to your city’s water—so if you aren’t careful, you’re planning could create future problems. By taking possible runoff points into consideration during the planning process, it’s easy to prevent and control the runoff pollution in your local area.

Planning for New Construction

When you’re developing a grid for new streets, highways, or bridges, you need to take the surrounding land into consideration. In order to prevent unwanted pollution:

  • Try to incorporate your road system or bridge into the natural characteristics of the landscape.
  • Avoid building new roads, highways, and bridges where they will have a direct impact on nearby bodies of water.
  • As you’re planning for your city to expand, reserve specific portions of land for roads, highways, and bridges. If you don’t allocate the land ahead of time, it’s more likely that roads, highways, and bridges will be built on whatever land is available—by controlling this, you control the amount of runoff pollution in your town.

New Construction

With the amount of Earth you’re disturbing to build new highways, bridges, and roads, it’s normal to have some runoff pollution. However, just because it’s normal, doesn’t mean that you should ignore it. Instead, develop a plan that helps you control the amount of runoff pollution created during the construction phase.

  • Develop a site-specific erosion and sediment control plan
  • Monitor chemical usage
  • Control how chemicals are handled and stored on the construction site
  • Fertilize the land you disturb to promote vegetation growth so that runoff debris isn’t flowing directly into a water source

Routine Maintenance and Operation

You also have ample opportunity to inspect the area around your roads, bridges, and highways throughout the year to make sure your runoff points aren’t causing excess pollution. Create a regular schedule that includes:

  • Seeding and fertilizing areas with damaged vegetation or slopes
  • Clean drainage ditches
  • Keep the shoulders and slopes of your roads clear of litter and other debris
  • Regulate the amount of deicing salts used on your city’s roads to prevent over deicing
  • Make sure your city’s salt trucks are equipped with calibration devices so that the salt is spread evenly