California Department of Transportation

Roughen Soil Surface

Slope Roughening

What is This Treatment?

Soil roughening involves roughening finish-graded surfaces with earthwork equipment. Perform roughening as follows:

  • Trackwalk fill slopes by running tracked equipment perpendicular to slope contours.
  • Sheepsfoot roll fill slopes by drawing a wheeled punch across the slope with a cable or tractor.
  • Scarify cut slopes by drawing a serrated bulldozer blade or notched slope board across the slope parallel to the slope contours.

When to Use This Treatment:

  • Roughen all slopes that are to receive permanent erosion control materials, unless otherwise directed in the special provision for the erosion control materials to be applied.
  • Slopes 2:1 (H:V) and flatter - roughen via trackwalking or scarification.
  • Slopes 1.5:1 (H:V) and flatter - roughen via sheepsfoot roller.
  • Comply with the guidance for Slope Roughening/Terracing/Rounding/Stepping provided in Appendix A of the Caltrans Storm Water Quality Handbooks Project Planning and Design Guide.


  • Reduced stormwater runoff volume and velocity.

  • Improved infiltration rate.

  • Improved soil water holding capacity.

  • Improved potential for vigorous long term vegetation coverage.


  • May increase the cost of earthwork activities.

  • Requires site accessibility by earthwork equipment.

  • May not be practical for sandy soils.

  • May not be practical for shallow rocky soils.

Standards and Specifications:

Plans and Details:

  • No Standard Plans or Details required

Estimate Information:

  • Typically $350/acre (2009) per the Project Planning and Design Guide Storm Water Quality Handbook
  • No separate BEES code - paid for as part of Roadway Excavation.


External Links:

Updated: August 24, 2015