The Importance Of Efficient Roadway Drainage Systems

The Importance Of Efficient Roadway Drainage Systems

Your road is in real danger without proper roadway drainage systems. The goal of any road drainage system is to reduce or completely eliminate the flow of water over roadways.

The actual location and design of a road can dramatically improve drainage, or lead to its demise.  Water is fundamental for life, but too much water with nowhere to go can cause serious damage to roadways.  The greater the velocity of water as it races across pavement, the faster it’ll deteriorate surfaces. It’s so important for ditches, cuts or other waterways to handle moving water.

The first roads were built some 3,500 years ago in Europe. Even original roadways took the importance of drainage into account. They focused on cross-fall, grade line and lateral ditches, all of which help move water away from roadways. Yet, to this day, many roadways around the world remain unsafe and open to extensive damage due to oversights in roadway drainage systems.

4 Common Problems Associated With Poor Roadway Drainage

1. Erosion

When water continually flows over a surface it causes erosion, or the giving way of materials. Clogged culverts or small diameter culverts can lead to water flooding into the road and causing erosion. Soils that are most sensitive to erosion include silt, silty moraine and sand.

2. Traffic Safety

Drivers are not as safe when a roadway lacks proper drainage systems. When the roads puddle up with water it increases the risk for hydroplaning. Also, wet surfaces equate to reduced friction and longer braking time, ultimately increasing the risk for accidents. During the winter, puddles of water freeze overnight and turn into dangerous patches of slick ice by morning when people are out on the roadways heading to school and work.

3. Permanent Road Deformations

Roads can experience permanent deformation when proper drainage is not included. These deformations are the leading cause of undesirable rutting on low volume roads. As a result, roads are less safe, drivers experience greater issues, and roads have lower bearing capacities. Roads with permanent deformities are also more expensive for road owners and drivers.

4. Frost Heave

When road drainage is not properly maintained or installed it leads to the development of frost heave, which creates uneven and cracked roads.  Thus increasing the amount of maintenance roadways require.

5. Reduced Lifeline of Pavement & Increased Costs

Proper roadway drainage systems increase the lifeline of a road and reduce maintenance costs considerably. On the other hand, not having proper drainage systems increases maintenance costs and decreases lifeline of roadways.

Roadway Drainage Systems Built To Last

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for roadway drainage systems. Instead, there are many factors that influence the best way to go about creating an efficient drainage system. For one thing, a good estimation of runoff must be calculated. Runoff has to do with location of the road, intensity and duration of rainfall in the area as well as just upstream from the area. It’s also important to consider how frequently rainfall is expected to exceed averages.

Three important considerations when building efficient roadway drainage systems:

1. Total size of drainage area needs to fall in line with the amount of runoff an area is prone to. A solid basin area estimate will help you when using runoff formulas and charts.

2. The topography of the land is important in regards to the average slope and elevation of the basin.

3. Soil type and characteristics will determine permeability and infiltration capacity. The amount of water a certain soil type is able to absorb will influence runoff rate. Certain characteristics may negatively impact soil absorption, leading to hydrophobicity, frozen earth and compaction.

The Power Of Proper Roadway Drainage Systems

Roads that are eroded, deformed or unsafe in any way are not only a hazard to the public, but also they increase costs drivers and those responsible for maintaining roadways. By installing proper roadway drainage systems from the beginning you can save a lot of hassles and money. Plus, you can expect your investment in drainage to pay for itself over time.

It takes research, careful consideration and engineering to determine the best possible drainage system for a particular roadway. You can count on Kleenco Construction to provide superior roadway drainage systems that hold up year after year, regardless of rainfall.