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Burrowing Mammal Impacts on Paved Highways, Phase 1

Project #: 4W2680
Start Date: 01/01/2010
End Date: 12/31/2010
Status: Completed

Burrowing mammals can cause damage to highways resulting in increased maintenance, rehabilitation costs and decreased level of service. Typical damage includes undermining of structural fill which can allow water to infiltrate under paved surfaces causing premature failure and shoulder erosion creating potentially unsafe driving conditions. The magnitude of this maintenance issue in Montana has not yet been fully determined, but where the problem does occur, it poses complex maintenance, operational, environmental and ecological challenges. The public’s expectation of environmental stewardship in transportation projects requires that mitigation of roadbed damage by burrowing mammals is context-sensitive, humane and cost effective. A comprehensive assessment of this problem is needed so that highway designers and maintenance personnel can continue to provide a safe and efficient highway system.


WTI conducted surveys, interviews, and site visits to determine the extent and nature of burrowing mammal-caused roadbed damage and associated mitigation methodologies.

The objective of Phase I of this study is to characterize the nature and extent of burrowing mammal damage to paved roadways around the state of Montana.


  • Angela Kociolek
    Angela Kociolek