Any building project has a negative impact on the environment. The stones and tar that compose roads have to be harvested and mixed into asphalt, often with a slight damage to the environment. Most roads have paints on them, which usually release small amounts of toxic chemicals for 5-10 years. The roads and highways themselves take up space that habitats could grow in, and obviously there are occasional wildlife casualties on any road. The biggest environmental concern with roads is that they have to be put somewhere, which almost always means leveling woods, filling in swamps, or other forms of habitat destruction.
When new roads are built, the permeability of the surface is lowered, which has several negative environmental effects. When the permeable surface is reduced, rainwater cannot soak into the ground as easily, which can lead to reduced aquifers (underground areas of permeable rock that contain water). Reduced aquifers can mean less available drinking and irrigation water. In some areas, it can even lead to sinkholes.
Decreased surface permeability also means that rainwater will stay on the surface longer and cover more area, picking up pollutants that can then make their way into our drinking water as well as aquatic ecosystems.
Less surface permeability also leads to flooding, because the water is building up much faster than it can be absorbed.
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