Studies on the Impact of Roadway Runoff


The diffuse infiltration of road runoff: An environmental improvement

Authors: Pascal Piguet, Aurèle Parriaux, Michaël Bensimon – École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne – EPFL, Laboratory of Engineering and Environmental Geology – GEOLEP, Switzerland

Outlook: The Laboratory of Engineering and Environmental Geology (GEOLEP) has been mandated by Swiss authorities (Swiss Federal Road Office FedRO) to test a new road runoff management concept. This concept promotes the diffuse infiltration of road runoff into infiltration slopes designed for this purpose. Soils retain particles and contaminants; this lowers the road impact on the environment and simultaneously improves aquifer recharge. The study concludes that this innovative road runoff management concept can thus be readily implemented outside groundwater protection zones where aquifers are slightly vulnerable; it undoubtedly lowers the environmental impact of roads, does not endanger road integrity, and locally increases aquifer recharge.


Environmental characterization of surface runoff from three highway sites in Southern Ontario, Canada: 1. Chemistry

Authors: T. Mayer, Q. Rochfort, J. Marsalek, J. Parrott, M. Servos, M. Baker, R. McInnis, A. Jurkovic and I. Scott

Outlook: Highway runoff is a significant source of contaminants entering many freshwater systems. To provide information on effects of highway runoff on aquatic biota, runoff samples were collected from three sites representing different classes of highways with low, intermediate and high traffic intensities. The study concludes that levels of contaminants depended on traffic intensity, road condition (age, composition, maintenance), the condition of metal structures (drains, guardrails, etc.) and seasonal conditions.


Trace metals content in soils along the state road 51 (northeastern Poland)

Authors: Beata Modrzewska & Miroslaw Wyszkowski

Outlook: The aim of the study was to determine concentrations of some trace elements (lead, cadmium, chromium, and nickel) in soils along State Road 51 leading from Olsztyn to Olsztynek, northeastern Poland. The study shows that the traffic flow had a significant effect on the content of heavy metals in soils lying along the road. Further away from the road and under lower traffic flow intensity, the amounts of contaminants originating from the motor traffic decreased.