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Section 3: Inspection and Maintenance of Erosion Control Measures

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Preventive maintenance built into the highway design and construction phases will decrease maintenance costs. Experts in soil conservation, agronomy, and drainage can assist in maintenance inspections and in recommending appropriate erosion control measures. Periodic inspections of drainage and erosion control measures should be conducted shortly after completion of construction so that deficiencies can be located and corrected before they develop into major problems. Deficiencies in design or in construction procedures should be discussed with the engineering staff to avoid similar deficiencies on future projects. Coordination of responsibilities for erosion control measures among design construction and maintenance sections is encouraged.

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Embankments and Cut Slopes

Embankments and cut slopes are especially vulnerable to erosion. Maintenance equipment operators should be made aware that damage to ground cover at such locations can create serious erosion problems that are difficult to correct. Surveillance of these areas by maintenance personnel should be emphasized because such areas are not easily seen from the roadway.

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Channels, whether active streams or open roadside ditches, are vulnerable to erosion, especially after construction. Maintenance personnel should inspect these facilities periodically and after significant storms for any erosion that will require remedial work.

Intercepting channels should be kept clean and free of brush, trees, tall weeds, and other material that decreases the capacity of the channel. When channel deterioration reduces channel capacity, overflow may occur more frequently, and erosion or deposition in the area adjacent to the channel may take place. Natural channels that are parallel to the roadway embankment may be best maintained in their natural state. This reduces the probability of embankment erosion.

High velocity flow in chutes or ditches often overtops the sides and erodes the adjacent area. Care must be taken to inspect for holes and eroded areas under paved channels to prevent collapse of rigid sections. Projections and joint offsets that cause splash and possible erosion should be removed or repaired. The channel entrance should not permit water to flow either along the side or underneath the channel.

Periodic inspection of channel changes is necessary to avoid costly repairs. Failures during construction should be carefully analyzed before performing remedial work because changes in the original construction may be indicated.

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Repair to Storm Damage

Storm damage should be repaired as quickly as possible in order to avoid additional damage. Such damage may indicate that additional protection is needed. A damaged area restored only to its pre-flood condition usually will be damaged again when a flood of similar magnitude recurs.

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Erosion/Scour Problem Documentation

When maintenance personnel discover excessive scour or erosion near a bridge or other major drainage structure, those responsible should be advised so that they can take proper actions to protect the structure. A system of record keeping and documentation regarding erosion/scour problems and flood events respective to highway facilities should be established and maintained.

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