Assessment of CDOT Revegetation Practices for Highway Construction Sites
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Assessment of CDOT Revegetation Practices for Highway Construction Sites

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  • English

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      Final Report
    • Abstract:
      The revegetation of previously disturbed areas from highway construction activities is a critical component to overall site stormwater management strategy. Poor revegetation actions during and after construction can lead to difficulty in deactivating stormwater construction permits (SCPs). Excessive duration of open permits due to poor revegetation success can result in higher non-project costs for erosion control, revegetation rework and maintenance, and regulatory compliance monitoring and documentation. Open SCPs can increase the potential for regulatory inspections and fines. Unexpected rework and liability costs can be experienced by CDOT maintenance who is responsible for SCP compliance. A research project was conducted by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to assess the effectiveness of the CDOT revegetation process and associated specifications. The research study developed five hypotheses that were tested using field observation and testing approaches. Active construction projects’ revegetation practices were observed using a quality control approach. Revegetation success on former construction sites was tested using a “forensic” approach by measuring and observing critical revegetation establishment variables. An informational survey was conducted to assess the CDOT construction engineering understanding of the CDOT revegetation process. A cost evaluation was performed to determine the financial impact of not initially performing revegetation correctly that required rework and the maintenance cost associated with achieving SCP deactivation.There are over thirty conclusions and associated recommendation provided in this report to improve CDOT revegetation success, including improved testing; salvage and amendments to topsoil to improve nutrient and organic concentrations; improved quality control by landscape architects or landscape architect’s qualified revegetation representative during the construction and revegetation process; improved education or outreach to ensure a basic understanding of revegetation processes within project managers who are not landscape architects; and better tracking of short and long term costs of vegetation repairs after project completion, but before permit deactivation. To achieve improved revegetation efficiency will require CDOT to prioritize and implement several of these recommendations. Areas needing significant improvement include: vegetation process quality control, contractor compliance to CDOT specifications, understanding of the CDOT revegetation process and specifications by contractors and CDOT field personnel, the post-construction process of managing contractor contracts related to unsuccessful vegetation, and consistent protocols for revegetation expectations related to project hand-over and SCP deactivations.
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