An Economic Analysis of Improved Road‐Stream Crossings
Road‐stream crossings, which include culverts and bridges, are an essential element of our transportation networks, allowing roads to pass over rivers and streams. Our communities and our economies depend on functioning road networks and safe crossings.
We also depend on healthy rivers and streams for clean water, recreation, and a host of other benefits, and we are learning more about the relationships between road‐stream crossing designs and their effect on natural areas. Undersized or poorly designed crossings fragment streams and disrupt the natural movement of water, sediment and aquatic organisms, causing erosion and degraded habitat. The most problematic of these crossings prevent aquatic organisms, such as brook trout, from accessing the upstream habitat they need to survive and reproduce.
Yet crossings can be designed to avoid these problems. Improved road‐stream crossings deliver social, economic and ecological benefits and are a key element of adapting our infrastructure to a changing climate. Unfortunately, their initial cost can be a significant obstacle for highway
departments with limited budgets.