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Chapter 10
Roadside Management and Maintenance: Beyond Vegetation
10.20. Field Review of Roadside Maintenance Operations

Caltrans Maintenance Activity Pollution Prevention Program

Caltrans developed a pilot program for review and improvement of roadside maintenance operations, which was ultimately expanded to a full-scale inspection program called the Maintenance Activity Pollution Prevention Program (MAPPP). Program practices include the following:

  • Evaluate stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) in the field.
  • Identify potential improvements.
  • Provide a feedback mechanism for work crews.
  • Conduct general stormwater training, activity-specific training for work crews, and reviews of specific guidance, expectations, and documentation.
  • Develop a documentation method that could be applied consistently statewide.

South Carolina DOT Quality Management of Maintenance Activities

SCDOT's Maintenance Assessment Program (MAP) was developed to help obtain an acceptable level of service of all of the key elements of maintenance. The SCDOT Maintenance Director identified the key elements of highway maintenance: pavement, shoulders and ditches, roadside, drainage structures, pavement markings, signs, and guardrail. Objective criteria were identified for each element. The quality maintenance team (QMT) randomly selects two-tenth mile segments of roadway throughout the state and measures the maintenance performance of the seven elements, a statistically significant sample of segments throughout the state.

Performance thresholds were defined to identify levels of service (LOS) for each element. Costs have been developed for each level of service, allowing development of a performance-based maintenance budget. These costs were developed using data from the Highway Maintenance Management System (HMMS) and previous maintenance contracts. With this information, SCDOT is also able to define how much additional funding is required to obtain an acceptable (or the desired) level of service for each of the seven elements.

The MAP data will also be used to trend the maintenance performance over time, which will assist in determining the success of maintenance policies and identify areas of need. The MAP data is also being used on QMT county inspections, assisting in the rating of the performance of the county maintenance units. [N]

WSDOT's Maintenance Accountability Process and Environmental Factors

WSDOT has developed a Maintenance Accountability Process (MAP) tool to measure and communicate the outcomes of maintenance activities and to link strategic planning, the budget, and maintenance service delivery. Twice a year, field inspections are made of randomly selected sections of highway. The results are measured, recorded and compared to the MAP criteria to determine the level of service (LOS) delivered.

For example, WSDOT's roadsides are maintained to fulfill highway objectives in four functional categories: operational, environmental, visual and auxiliary. The Operational category includes those functions that provide safe and multi-use roadsides. The Environmental category includes those functions that protect and enhance natural and built surroundings. Visual functions promote a positive quality of life and are integral to the other functions. Auxiliary functions are those that supplement the transportation system, such as safety rest areas. The primary elements of roadside maintenance include, vegetation management, litter control and maintenance of safety rest areas.

Results are summarized annually, such as in the Fall 2006 Field Data Collection Manual, which includes the following A (blue) through F (red, none) grades for drainage maintenance and slope repair and roadside vegetation management.

Field Data

Further details about the methodology of measurement in these areas follow:

Drainage Ditches
Units of Measure: Total linear feet of ditch, per 0.10 mile section ; total linear feet of filled ditch, per 0.10 mile section.

Threshold: Count as deficient all ditches which are 50% or more full.

Methodology: Measure all ditches within the section and record the total linear feet of ditches. Measure and record the linear feet of ditch that is 50% or more full of sediment or other material.

For purposes of this survey, to be considered a ditch the structure must be designed and constructed to carry water - not a natural swale, or must be maintained as a ditch by Maintenance.

Comments: Streams adjacent to the roadway are not considered ditches. Standing water (tidal or non-tidal) in ditches is not a deficiency. Vegetation growing in the ditch is not a deficiency. Ditches designed solely to capture rock fall shall not be considered a ditch for this survey. [N]

Culverts
Unit of Measure: Total number of culverts, per 0.10 mile section. Total number of culverts greater than or equal to 50% filled or otherwise deficient, per 0.10 mile section.

Threshold: Count as deficient if:

  • Any portion of the culvert is 50% or more filled with sediment or debris, or
  • Any end is significantly crushed or deformed, or
  • The volume of the inflow or outflow is reduced 50% or more by obstructions such as rocks, vegetation, or woody debris, or
  • The pipe is separated 1" or more, or damaged in a way that the function of the culvert is causing significant damage to the roadway prism or adjacent drainage channel.

Methodology: Count and record all culverts within the section. Count and record any culvert that is 50% or greater filled or otherwise deficient. Evaluate only those culverts that cross state highways or county roads at their intersection with state highways. Do not count culverts under private access roads.

Comments: Vegetation obscuring the end of a culvert is not a deficiency unless it obstructs the flow of water. Standing water (tidal or non-tidal) in ditches is not a deficiency. Culverts designed to be half filled with gravel for fish habitat should not be rated as deficient. [N]

Catch Basins / Inlets
Inlet Pipe, Outlet Pipe, Flow Line, Elevation, Catch Basin or Grate Inlet, Grate Ground Elevation, Silt Storage, Capacity Varies

Units of Measure: Total number of catch basins and drain inlets, per 0.10 mile section; total number of catch basins and drain inlets that are deficient.

Threshold: Count as deficient any catch basin or drain inlet that has:

  • 50% or more of the inlet grate blocked with debris, or
  • The catch basin has sediment buildup that reaches or exceeds the flow line elevation of the outlet pipe.

Methodology: Count and record the total number of catch basins and drain inlets in the section. Count and record the number of catch basins and drain inlets blocked by debris or catch basins filled with sediment.

Comments: Both catch basins and drain inlets are rated for blockage of the inlet grate. Only catch basins are rated for sediment build-up. A flashlight and/or probe may be needed to determine if the structure is a catch basin (i.e., has silt storage capacity) and whether it is deficient. [N]

Slope Failures
Unit of Measure: Total number of slope failures, per 0.10 mile section.

Threshold: Only count as deficient a slide or erosion that is at the time of the inspection:

  • Jeopardizing the structural integrity of the shoulder or traveled lane(s), or
  • Blocking the shoulder or traveled lane(s), or blocking the ditch, or
  • Jeopardizing the structural integrity of guardrail or traffic signs.

Traffic may move slower through the area or lanes may be reduced, causing intermittent stoppages. Erosion or slides not meeting the thresholds above shall not be considered deficient.

Methodology: Determine and record the total number of slope failures found within the survey section. Both fill and cut slopes can be affected. [N]

Comments: Chronic or ongoing slope failures that do not meet the criteria listed above at the time of the survey are not to be counted as failures. Edge drop-off is not considered a slope failure. [N]

Noxious Weeds - Weed Infestation
Units of Measure: Total square feet of infestation, per 0.10 mile section .

Threshold: Presence of noxious weeds on the roadside.

Methodology: Survey the roadside and determine the presence of any noxious weeds. Measure the square feet of the infestation; the total square feet of infestation should not exceed the total square feet of roadside.

Comments: Identifying noxious weeds can be difficult and is best done by a person trained in weed identification. For assistance in identifying noxious weeds consultation with the area roadside or spray crew is recommended. [N]

Nuisance Vegetation - Weed Infestation
Units of Measure: Total square feet of infestation, per 0.10 mile section .

Threshold: Presence of nuisance vegetation on the roadside.

Methodology: Survey the roadside and determine the presence of any nuisance vegetation. Measure the square feet of the infestation; the total square feet of infestation should not exceed the total square feet of roadside.

Comments: Identifying nuisance vegetation can be difficult and is best done by a person trained in weed identification. For assistance in identifying nuisance weeds consultation with the area roadside or spray crew is recommended. [N]

Vegetation Obstruction
Unit of Measure: Total number of vegetation obstructions per 0.10 mile section.

Threshold: Vegetation blocking sight distance to guide or regulatory signs, or intersections as seen from the driver's perspective.

Methodology: Measure and record total number of instances where vegetation obstructs sight distance to signs or intersections. For example, if a survey site has two blocked signs and one blocked intersection the surveyor shall record 3 vegetation obstructions on the survey form.

Comments: For the purpose of judging adequate site distance for this survey, signs and intersections should be visible from distances of:

  • Freeways 800 feet minimum
  • Rural roads 500 feet minimum
  • Urban roads 200 feet minimum [N]
Litter
Unit of Measure: Total number of litter counted, per 0.10 mile section.

Threshold: Objects approximately 4 inches in any dimension or larger.

Methodology: Observe and record all litter 4 inches and greater. [N]

 

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Table of Contents
 
Chapter 10
Roadside Management and Maintenance: Beyond Vegetation
10.1 Environmental Enhancement Practices and Partnership Efforts
10.2 Protection of Historic and Other Cultural Resources
10.3 Maintenance in Wetlands
10.4 Maintenance Near Waterbodies
10.5 Maintenance of Structures for Wildlife
10.6 Maintenance of Stormwater Facilities
10.7 Maintenance of Roadside Public Facilities
10.8 Management of Portable Sanitary/Septic Waste Systems
10.9 Maintenance of Shoulders and Roadway Appurtenances
10.10 Sweeping and Vacuuming of Roads, Decks, Water Quality Facilities, and Bridge Scuppers
10.11 Maintenance Stewardship Practices for Slopes, Drainage Ditches, Swales, and Diversions
10.12 Erosion and Sediment Control in Maintenance
10.13 Recycling in Roadside Maintenance Operations
10.14 Preserving Air Quality in Maintenance and Operations
10.15 Painting Operation Stormwater BMPs
10.16 Road Waste Management
10.17 Stockpiling, Spoil Disposal or Placement of Inert Fill
10.18 Maintenance of Soils
10.19 Emergency Actions
10.20 Field Review of Roadside Maintenance Operations
   
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