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Home > Feature Articles > Municipality Strategies for Sustainable Community Best Practices

Pollution Prevention for Roads, Highways and Bridges

EPA provides best practices for Pollution Prevention for Roads, Highways and Bridges. The result can be saving both time and costs,

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Controlling Nonpoint Source Runoff Pollution from Roads, Highways, and Bridges

An Environmental Analysis is the best "first step" in proper maintenance because it identifies problems, conflicts, or resource constraints that may affect the natural environment or the viability of a project. It also examines how a proposed action might affect people, their communities, and their livelihoods. When these conditions are part of planning best practices, the results can be supported more broadly, and in many cases, save money with practical workarounds and ideas provided by people who know the area intimately.

Key benefits of environmental planning for a road project can include the following:

  • Reducing cost and time of project implementation
  • Avoiding costly modification during construction
  • Determining the proper balance between roads needs and environmental impacts
  • Increasing project acceptance by the public
  • Avoiding negative impacts and violations of laws and regulations
  • Improving project design and performance
  • Producing a healthier environment by avoiding or mitigating problems
  • Minimizing conflicts over natural resource use.

    EPA provides extensive planning materials to prevent polluted runoff and nonpoint source pollution in their "Roads, Highways and Bridges website.

    For example:

    Low-Volume Roads Engineering Best Management Practices Field Guide

    This guide provides an overview of the key planning, location, design, construction, and maintenance aspects of roads that can cause adverse environmental impacts and to list key ways to prevent those impacts.

    Best Practices: Highway and Street Maintenance to Reduce Environmental Impact

    Best Management Practices for Environmental Issues Related to Highway and Street Maintenance (PDF format, 10MB)

    This document, produced by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program, is appropriate for state, county, city and local agencies. It is a compilation of practices likely to increase the environmental sensitivity of road maintenance work, including many practices that have become widely adopted and adapted.

    Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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