Canadian Consulting Engineer

Ontario writing environmental standards for 400-series highways

Ontario's Ministry of Transportation is developing a comprehensive set of environmental management and performance...

December 18, 2002   Canadian Consulting Engineer

Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation is developing a comprehensive set of environmental management and performance standards for future highways.
The standards are intended for 400 series highways and are being developed in cooperation with federal agencies in a portfolio called the Environmental Standards Project.
A number of consulting engineers are involved in formulating the guidelines, working under the leadership of a consortium called Ecoplans. Firms involved are Marshall Macklin Monaghan, SNC-Lavalin, RWDI, McCormick Rankin, Unterman McPhail, Archeaological Services, Meridia Group and IMOS.
The Ontario government has launched the program partly as a result of its intentions to hand over to the private sector many of the roles its own ministry staff used to do in both the design and operation of highways. The aim is to ensure consistency and compliance with new environmental law and practices.
The standards will be linked to relevant legislation and policies and organized according to three basic stages: preliminary design/detail design; construction; operation/maintenance. Key components will be as follows:
— Environmental Quality Standards (highway-related federal and provincial environmental requirements)
— Environmental Best Practices (procedures to achieve the standards)
— Measures for Environmental Performance (means to determine degree to which the environmental quality standards are being met)
— Environmental Management System (framework for private sector to achieve compliance).
The Ministry of Transportation will be posting components of the proposed standards on its web site as they are completed, and they will remain there until the winter of 2004/05. The overview is already on the site, and details for the design stage will be posted in the summer and fall of 2003. See www.mto.gov.on.ca


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