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TDOT funds a number of vital statewide environmental initiatives designed to protect the state’s natural resources. Some of those programs include:

  •  Tennessee Environmental Streamlining Agreement
    The purpose of the Environmental Streamlining Agreement is to establish a coordinated planning and project development process for major transportation projects in Tennessee in order to ensure significant external Resource/Regulatory Agency and Metropolitan Planning Organization participation and involvement early and throughout the project development process. Critical to the success of the Agreement is the implementation of individual agreements with each Resource/Regulatory Agency. These individual agreements will include funding by TDOT for staff positions, hardware/software upgrades, travel, etc. to ensure full participation by the Resource/Regulatory agencies in TDOT’s project development process.
  • Statewide Storm Water Program
    The Statewide Storm Water Management Plan (SSWMP) outlines the steps TDOT will take to prevent erosion, control sediment, and manage storm water across Tennessee, with the overall goal of planning, designing, constructing and maintaining the state’s highways in such a way that minimizes the impacts of storm water runoff. The plan is intended to ensure that storm water management is incorporated throughout all of TDOT’s operations, and that storm water and water quality are considerations in all phases of every TDOT project.

The Department has developed the SSWMP in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC). The plan grew out of the Amended Consent Order entered into by both agencies in March 2004. This Amended Consent Order was the result of problems with erosion prevention and sediment control that occurred on particular construction projects, but were indicative of problems that were occurring on other TDOT construction projects.

The final SSWMP documents will be submitted to TDEC in early May 2007.

For more information on the TDOT SSWMP go to

  • Statewide Stream/Wetlands Mitigation
    In the past, the department has taken a project by project approach to stream and wetland mitigation. In addition, while the department has been involved in the development of wetland banks, there has been no great effort to conduct a statewide needs analysis. With the advent of the Long Range Transportation Plan and utilization of a three-year program of projects, the opportunity now exists to consider planned/future transportation projects and better anticipate and plan for stream and wetland impacts.

The department along with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) is currently exploring opportunities to better plan and anticipate stream and wetland impacts with the goal of developing a comprehensive mitigation approach and having mitigation on the ground prior to the impacts caused by the transportation projects.

  • Statewide Type II Noise Barrier Program
    In 2005, The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) announced the details of a new noise barrier policy along with the details of a new Type II Noise Barrier Program that will provide noise walls for the first time in qualifying neighborhoods. The intent of the Type II Noise Barrier Program is to address areas where high noise levels are impacting neighborhoods adjacent to highways. In order to be considered, neighborhoods must meet specific criteria required to obtain the necessary federal funding which makes the program possible. In March 2007, crews broke ground on the first Type II Noise Barrier in Tennessee.
  • Statewide Environmental Management System
    In early 2006, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) began the process of undertaking a comprehensive review of the department's business processes with the overall goal of streamlining the project development process. A major component of this effort is the development of a Statewide Environmental Management System (SEMS). Through this process, the following six (6) areas were identified as the goals of the SEMS effort: 1) Streamline project delivery; 2) Promote environmental stewardship; 3) Improve communication and collaboration; 4) Demonstrate accountability; 5) Manage organizational and cultural change and 6) Leverage existing technology investments.

The development and implementation of an environmental management system is anticipated to enable: 1) Linking the long range planning process with the project development process; 2) Creating a streamlined approach to involve the regulatory/resource agencies, the public and other interested stakeholders earlier and throughout the project development process and 3) Ensuring that environmental and other project-related commitments are documented and ultimately fulfilled as part of the project.

TDOT recognizes that the environmental process, including the involvement and input of regulatory/resource agencies, the public and other interested stakeholders, must be altered in order to improve environmental stewardship and streamline the overall project development process.

  • Tennessee Roadscapes Program
    The Tennessee Roadscapes Program was developed in 2006 as a partnership between community organizations across the state and TDOT to create inviting spaces through an integrated approach to roadside landscaping. TDOT funds 80 percent of the cost of a project with the grant recipient contributing the remaining 20 percent. Grants are derived from federal funds that are specifically earmarked for roadway enhancement projects.

The Tennessee Roadscapes program includes a variety of environmental stewardship and beautification programs:

Landscaping with naturalized flowers and native flowering trees
Memorials and parks
Roadside tree planting
Exotic and invasive plant removal
Litter cleanup and prevention education programs
Adopt-A-Highway and Adopt-A-Spot programs
Community landscaping at intersections, street corners, medians, entrances, and gateways

The Tennessee Roadscapes program offers communities an opportunity to partner with the Department to improve the aesthetic appeal of Tennessee Roadways. In March 2007, twelve communities across the state received funding as part of the initial round of grants under this program.

For more information on this program go to