How to map an (intermittent) stream that flows _along_ a highway and then leaves it at the same side


I have encountered a waterway=stream, intermittent=yes which at location A enters a highway=track (and flows along it), at location B it leaves the highway=track at the same side where it entered it.

I mapped it that I have at this section both ways sharing the same nodes and tagged the section (i.e. the linear feature) ford=yes, intermittent=yes, but while uploading JOSM did emit a warning.

I don’t know if I did it correctly.

How to do such thing correctly?

I am also unsure about the ford=yes, since a ford is a crossing, but the stream leaves the highway on the same side as where it entered it, so no crossing involved.
Regarding what a person encounters who follows the track on the other side this does not matter at which side the stream leaves the highway.

Here is the location in question:


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I would map that in the same way. While, technically, that might not be a ford in the narrow sense, you will have to get your feet or tyres wet or muddy while walking or driving there in wet season. Tagging it as a ford makes that crystal-clear, as opposed to the situation where the stream runs parallel with the track and the two were erroneously glued in the map.

According to the aerial pic the streambead does not touch the road but runs parallel to it. Nevertheless it happens quite often that the stream finds its own way when carrying enough water and enters a nearby track. I have seen this many times and such situation will last until someone does some excavation to put the stream back to where it belongs. In such a case I would not split the stream and share the tags with the track - I would leave both the way of the track as well as the stream uncut and just put them on top of each other so that both ways keep their own tags.

what was the warning? Why JOSM complained?

According to my beeing-at-the-spot the stream actually runs directly
over the way. The area besides which is less overgrown is dry.

Will see. It is a very bad quality track anyway (more like “two path’s in parallel”), the general offroad verhicle/ tractor drive traffic comes from each sides but does not go through there.

How can I reproduce without re-mapping?

No doubt about that but most likely it was not planned this way.

I have seen exactly the same situation many times - a intermittent minor creek finding its own way into one of the reeled-out strips of such a track. If the track is rarely used it may remain like this for years, sometimes until the remains of the track are completely washed away. In other cases someone might help the creek to find back into the foreseen bed.

However it may be, I still would tag this as already recommended.

OK, I got two conflicting recommendations:


So I will leave it as it is and I left :arrow_upper_right: a note pointing to this discussion and leave it to others to make it as they think it should be.


Can recount 2 cases, one in the Pyrenees, a trail effectively going up a steep cascade in the direction of a Refuge with view on what was known as Porta de Espana, a vertical gap between 2 peaks, so stream (intermittent and was flowing the day going up) and route shared way, back when I mountain hiked by paper maps. Not able to find it back in OSM. Presently in Parco d’Abruzzo a very detailed trail (zillion of nodes) and valley which were mapped as sharing the same way and one of the QA’s not happy about that (got fingered for touching it and hit ignore as not intending to hit Shift+P and make a copy to separate trail and valley ways, they’re really one now not a duplicate way.
(Valleys another thing as some were mapped by node and JOSM telling it has to be mapped as a way, same as cascade has to be mapped on a stream but quite a few aren’t.)