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The ecological impact of bridges

A group of UTA civil engineers is studying the impact of bridge construction projects on stream ecology through a grant from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).

Assistant Professor of Instruction Habib Ahmari, Associate Professor Xinbao Yu, and their team will conduct a baseline study of stream morphology and aquatic habitat before a bridge is built, then what happens during bridge construction and after it is complete.

Their goal is to develop a predictive model for TxDOT that can be used to determine the downstream ecological impacts of bridge construction to support more effective project planning.

“Sediment released from bridge construction might change the sediment loading in receiving streams and cause habitat to suffer downstream of these bridges,” Dr. Ahmari says. “We have to determine the impact of bridge construction on freshwater mussels, which are natural filters of the water in rivers and streams. It’s a very important species to have in a river or stream because it shapes the ecosystem and clarifies water for other species.”

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