Skip Navigation

Mid-America Transportation Center

NDOR Evaluation of the Environmental Impacts of Bridge Deck Runoff


Researchers

  • Principal Investigator: Shannon Bartelt-Hunt (sbartelt2@unl.edu 402-554-3868)
  • Project Status
    In Progress
    Sponsors & Partners
  • Nebraska Department of Roads
  • About this Project
    Brief Project Description & Background
    Although highways and bridge surfaces often comprise a small portion of the overall area within a watershed, they are often identified as a major contributor to storm water runoff. In particular, bridges are located in very close proximity to receiving waters, and regulatory agencies often require specific storm water control measures for bridge deck runoff. While there is some information available on roadway runoff, few studies have focused on bridge deck runoff in particular. Currently, there is no information available regarding the impacts of bridge deck runoff on receiving waters in Nebraska. Due to the cost, maintenance, and design issues associated with implementing structural controls for bridge deck runoff, it is important to develop a better understanding of the relationship between bridge deck runoff and potential impact to receiving streams. The goal of this research project is to identify the potential environmental impacts of bridge deck runoff on receiving streams, and to determine design criteria that can be used by the Nebraska Department of Roads (NDOR) or regulatory agencies to identify when structural controls for bridge deck runoff may be necessary to protect in-stream water quality and aquatic life.
    Research Objective
    The objective of this research is to evaluate the quality of bridge deck runoff, and to determine the effects of bridge deck runoff on surface water bodies in Nebraska by evaluating both water and sediment chemistry as well as effects on aquatic life.
    Potential Benefits
    This research will fill the need for research on the effects of bridge deck runoff on aquatic life in Nebraska.
    Abstract
    Although highways and bridge surfaces often comprise a small portion of the overall area within a watershed, they are often identified as a major contributor to storm water runoff. In particular, bridges are located in very close proximity to receiving waters, and regulatory agencies often require specific storm water control measures for bridge deck runoff. For example, bridges are often required to have closed decks or catchment systems that direct stormwater runoff to vegetated areas prior to discharge. While there is some information available on roadway runoff, few studies have focused on bridge deck runoff. Currently, there is no information available regarding the impacts of bridge deck runoff on receiving waters in Nebraska. Due to the cost, maintenance, and design issues associated with implementing structural controls for bridge deck runoff, it is important to develop a better understanding of the relationship between bridge deck runoff and potential impact to receiving streams. The objective of this research is to evaluate the quality of bridge deck runoff, and to determine the effects of bridge deck runoff on surface water bodies in Nebraska by evaluating both water and sediment chemistry as well as effects on aquatic life. The goal of this research project is to identify the potential environmental impacts of bridge deck runoff on receiving streams, and to determine design criteria that can be used by the Nebraska Department of Roads (NDOR) or regulatory agencies to identify when structural controls for bridge deck runoff may be necessary to protect in-stream water quality and aquatic life.
    Project Amount
    $ 116,657