Long Term Construction and Maintenance Cost Comparison for Road Stream Crossings: Hydraulic Design vs. Bankfull Width Design

Focus Area

Construction and Maintenance Practices


Environmental Process, Natural Resources







Research Idea Scope

The design and installation of road stream crossings to accommodate fish and aquatic live passage is becoming a priority for state and federal regulatory agencies.  State and municipal project designers often cite project cost as a concern and limitation to installing structures that span the bankfull width of the stream.  Although the upfront cost of larger structures may increase, there may be long term savings by reducing the risk of road failure, reduced need for periodic maintenance, and increased life span of the structure.  

Urgency and Payoff

Quantifying the long-term costs of road stream crossings that span the bankfull width of a waterway would provide an accurate picture of the total cost of the structure.  It is possible that the long-term costs of bankfull sized structures are are equal to or less than the cost of structures that constrict stream flows.  Understanding the true cost of the structure would help project designers plan for the increased upfront project cost, comply with state and federal regulations, and also save money in the long term.

Suggested By

Jon Simonsen, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

[email protected]