7.2 Road Deactivation Professional Responsibilities & Considerations

A decision to deactivate a road may be an outcome from:

  • resource planning;
  • a road plan; or 
  • an evaluation of risk. 

A member may be involved in determining the need for deactivation, by analyzing items such as

  • risk;
  • cost-benefit considerations; and 
  • silvicultural objectives. 

As with other road elements, a CM takes professional responsibility for the development of prescriptions and the field implementation of the prescriptions. As such, the CM must provide direction as to what deactivation measures are required, considering:

  • the level of hazard;
  • the risk to downslope values; and 
  • the complexity of terrain and road conditions. 

There may be a need for the CM to specify and incorporate input from other Members or Specialists for more complex or higher risk cases. Examples of such deactivation works include: 

  • removal of structures such as bridges, cribs or retaining structures; 
  • removal of drainage structures under large fills; 
  • removal of drainage structures where the work could have an impact on other resources such as fish habitat or water quality for a community water supply;
  •  stabilizing fills on steep slopes; and 
  • road sections on or above steep slopes where drainage management is important for stability of slopes below the road.

Where, in the opinion of the CM, road deactivation is to be carried out in straightforward low-risk conditions, the CM may prepare a prescription that consists of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that match practices to be followed with existing road conditions. Generally, for these projects, the deactivation prescription would not require the completion of a Road Project Assurance Statement, unless there were sections of road works that could not be addressed through application of an SOP.

In those cases where the applications of SOP’s are not adequate, a CM must prepare a detailed site specific road deactivation prescription and carry out field reviews of the work (or delegate field reviews) as appropriate during or following the site work. Additionally, the CM must ensure that the prescription requires the completion of a Road Project Assurance Statement.

The CM ensures that any road deactivation prescription contains sufficient information so that the measures to be carried out are clearly understood by the road personnel carrying out the work, including references to field markings where needed. A road deactivation prescription could range from simple maps or references to field markings to detailed procedures with drawings and survey controls.

7.2.1 Involvement of Specialists in Road Deactivation

Use the services of a Specialist professional to carry out a terrain stability assessment and prepare the applicable portion of the road deactivation prescription if any of the following apply:

  • terrain stability mapping indicates that the road is located on terrain that is unstable or potentially unstable;
  • terrain stability mapping has not been done, and the road is located on terrain with slopes greater than 60%;
  • the road is located on terrain where there are indicators of slope instability;
  • the areas downslope or upslope of the road (or adjacent to or connected to it) contain elements at risk of damage or loss from a landslide, and the road crosses areas having a moderate or high likelihood of landslide occurrence;

7.2.2 Professional Field Reviews

Generally, for the more complex projects, state the rationale for field reviews by or on behalf of the CM in the deactivation prescription, and describe any specific concerns and the potential consequences of not carrying out professional field reviews. As well, identify in the rationale the timing and number of the professional field reviews.

Note: The cost to carry out road fill pullback a second time to repair deficiencies can be much higher than the cost of the original pullback work. Thus, thorough field reviews are prudent where full road fill pullback is being planned for areas located above high-value resources such as highways and residential development.

Unanticipated subsurface conditions may be encountered during deactivation works. In such an event, and if potential material adverse impacts to adjacent resources are identified, ensure that the CM conducts a field review before the project continues.

7.2.3 Project Assurance

Based upon the risk to other resources as a result of poor deactivation work, consider carrying out a subsequent field inspection of any completed project.

For those projects identified in the deactivation prescription as needing sign-off of the Road Project Assurance Statement (PDF), the CM must sign off the assurance statement, and must ensure that the statement includes or is accompanied by drawings that document the completed works after completion of the works,.