Road construction is one of the primary activities in which humans move large quantities of earth materials. The importance of road construction as a major anthropogenic process is evidenced in the literature in its use as one of only a few factors to calculate the total human geomorphic impact on the environment. Case studies indicate that the cuts and fills required to create flat ground for road and building construction have a geomorphic footprint that is twice the size of the flat area, assuming a 20 percent natural slope. At a 30 percent slope, the area that needs to be graded is three times the size of the desired flat area. Thus, even though a roadway may use only a relatively small area, in hilly terrain the geomorphic imprint can be several times larger.
The figure below shows a major road cut through a prominent ridge in western Maryland, Sideling Hill. The cut was made to accommodate the route for Interstate 68. As measured from the SRTM - NED difference grid, the depth of the cut is 98 meters, and the volume of material removed is 3.52 x 106 cubic meters, which agrees to within 2.4 percent of the published volume of 3.44 x 106 cubic meters.
1.2 Goals of Road Construction
Construct roads that will become an efficient and effective part of the overall transportation system by constructing them according to the plans and design specifications and using the best management practices for road construction.
Protect water quality, aquatic habitat and other natural resources.
1.3 Objectives of Road Construction
Construct roads according to design.
Minimize soil disturbance during road construction.
Minimize impacts to water quality during construction.
Minimize impacts to aquatic and terrestrial wildlife habitats.
Make on-the-ground decisions and/or changes to the road design specifications that react to unforeseen ...