Impact Assessment on Soil Erosion due to Highway Construction using GIS


Mohan Lal Agrawal

Research Scholar, Dept. of Civil Engineering
Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur (W.B.), India

Anil Kumar Dikshit

Associate Professor, Center for Environmental Science and Engineering,
Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (M.S.), India


Mrinal Kanti Ghose

Senior Scientist, Regional Remote Sensing Service Center
Kharagpur (W.B.), India


Infrastructure development is the basic need of any developing country and highway is one of the most important infrastructure. Road development affects the environment in big way. Highway construction involves huge land clearance and land use change, so causes impact on soil erosion of the area. In India, environmental impact assessment (EIA) was made a mandatory requirement to obtain environmental clearance for listed 29 categories of large scale developmental projects under the EIA notification (as amended 4 May 1994) (Government of India, MoEF). Assessment of soil erosion is a cost and time-consuming task. There are many models developed to predict soil erosion from an area, but Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) is most widely used empirical equation for estimating annual soil erosion. Soil erosion depends upon- rainfall intensity, type of soil, land cover and land use, slope and slope length and soil conservation practice. All these parameters are having spatial distribution and hence satellite remote sensing and geographic information system (GIS) can have a wide application in impact assessment on soil erosion. In this paper a case study on impact assessment of soil erosion due to a highway project has been presented. USLE has been used to predict the soil erosion and making erodibility map of the study area, using satellite remote sensing and GIS techniques and the impact on soil erosion due to change in land use caused by highway construction has been identified for the area directly affected by the construction of highway. In this study it is found that GIS based USLE model is suitable for assessing the impact on soil erosion due to highway construction and it is an effective tool to pursue the impacts to decision makers.

KEYWORDS: Environmental impact assessment (EIA), geographic information system (GIS), highway project, soil erosion.

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