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Wildlife Protection

Keeping It Simple: Easy Ways to Help Wildlife Along Roads

Plugging bridge-deck drains creates cleaner water for fish

Bridge-deck drains - "scuppers" - were required on Oregon bridges of the 1920s and 30s. The scuppers kept excess water off the bridge, but when it rained, oils, dirt, and other road-surface runoff often washed directly into the waterway through the scuppers. The Oregon Department of Transportation has come up with a simple solution to this problem on bridges that are sloped enough to let water run off the ends. On these bridges, maintenance crews plug the scuppers with a stiff, fast-setting grout, enabling runoff to spill off the ends of the bridge onto filtering vegetation. On bridges with little or no slope, the crews sometimes spray foam into the scuppers. In severe rain the scupper can be opened quickly and easily for temporary drainage. Both methods are doing a good job in preserving water quality and protecting aquatic life on Oregon waterways.
--Apr 25, 2003

Molly Cary, (503) 986-6924 or

Photo shows vertical pipe drains or "scuppers" along side of bridge
Oregon Department of Transportation photo
Before plugging, vertical pipe drains allowed runoff to flow directly into waterway

On or Near Bridges - Oregon
Updated: 12/12/2012
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