Contribution to Terms of Reference for Road Infrastructure Programs
Road infrastructure has a major influence on the environment immediately surrounding the roads. There is a genuine risk that this influence translates to negative impact in the shape of erosion, flooding, water logging, sedimentation, or even sand dune movement. Yet this influence can also be turned around and roads can contribute to better environmental management and beneficial water management 1. As such, roads can make an important contribution to climate resilience. In many instances this also reduces the costs of road asset management and the risk of road disruption.
As part of the formulation of the infrastructure program, the consultant is required to investigate and report on the potential beneficial contributions of roads to environmental management and beneficial water use and identify the measures required.
The consultants are requested to look at three areas in particular:
- Assess what measures can be built into the design of road and bridges infrastructure to ensure that roads contribute in a positive way to the environment and water resources surrounding them. This can be the placing of culverts and road drainage so as to optimize run-off patterns for water harvesting; the optimizing of road embankment heights and overflow structures for flood management; the systematic conversion of borrow puts for water storage, the developing of road drifts that retain and store water in the river bed; the use of road embankments as dam walls for water storages; the gating of road culverts for the control of water levels; the inclusion of water bars and rolling dips in feeder roads to divert water to surrounding fields and prevent road erosion; the inclusion of flood shelters in road infrastructure; the aligning of road routes to control sand dune movement and optimize recharge and water harvesting areas
- Assess what additional measures are required to make use of the potential that roads and bridges offer for environmental management and beneficial water use. This can be additional measures to channel water from road drainage for use in water harvesting; roadside tree planting and beneficial bioengineering programs or the incorporation of measures that reduce the risk of erosion and stabilize fragile environments and others.
- Assess the additional institutional activities required to better integrate beneficial water management and pro-active environmental management into road programs. This may be in the shape of modification to manuals and guidelines; changed budgeting systems, improved consultation and coordination processes; revisited maintenance arrangements; special workshops and training or pilot activities or modeling.