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Highway Drainage System

1 Prem N. Bastola/2013 12/24/18

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 Highway founded on soil
 Serviceability- moisture controlling
 Stability function of water content
 Cut and fill slope- direct exposure to
rain and sun
 Proper drainage of the road is one
single factor which has influence on
the stability of road
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 Highway drainage system is the
process of removing and
controlling excess surface and
subsurface water within right of
way [RoW]
 Drainage system
 Two categories
 Surface drainage
 Sub-surface drainage

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The harmful effects of water
 It reduces the strength of unbounded
granular materials and subgrade soils.
 It causes pumping of concrete pavements
with subsequent faulting, cracking and
general shoulder deterioration.
 With the high hydrodynamic pressure
generated by moving traffic, pumping of
fines in the base course of flexible
pavements may also occur with resulting
loss of support.

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 depth of frost penetration greater than
the pavement thickness, high water
table causes frost heave and the
reduction of load-carrying capacity
during the frost melting period.
 Water causes differential heaving over
swelling soils.
 Continuous contact with water causes
stripping of asphalt mixture.

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 Excess moisture in the soil subgrade
causes considerable lowering of
bearing capacity
 Increase in moisture content reduces
strength of pavement
 Clayey soil-variation in moisture
content causes variation in volume
change –permanent failure

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 Poor drainage causes flexible pavement
failure by formation of corrugation
 Sustained contact of water with
bituminous pavement causes striping of
 Rigid pavement fails due to excess
water in subgrade soil
 Erosion of cut slopes and embankments

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Requirements of drainage
 Surface water from the carriageway and
shoulder should be effectively drained
 Surface water from adjoining land
should be prevented from entering the
 Side drain should have sufficient
capacity and longitudinal slope
 Seepage and other forms of water
should be drained off
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Causes of moisture variation in sub-
grade soil

 To plan and design the measures for

removal-identify various sources of
water to and losses of water sub
 Rainfall
 Capillary rise
 Water table

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Components of drainage
 Surface
 Sub-surface

 Removal and diversion of sw from the
roadway and adjoining land
 By means of camber, super elevation
 Drainage structures- culverts,
causeway, minor bridge

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 Trapping of run off by the channel

 Removal and diversion of excess of
soil water from sub-grade
 By means of suitable methods and

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 Estimate the peak rate of flow
[runoff] reaching the drainage
 Hydrological study*
 Design of drainage structures to
accommodate the estimated flow
safely and economically
 Hydraulic design*
 Detail –structural mechanics

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Hydrological study
 Intensity of rainfall
 Rain infiltrates into the ground, some
evaporated remaining water flows
over the surface= runoff
 Factors affecting runoff
 Rate of rainfall
 Type of soil
 Moisture condition

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 Topography of the area
 Rainfall data over the catchment
 Intensity duration
 Frequency of storm
 Estimate peak flow

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Darcy Law
The movement of water by gravity
obeys Darcy’s law of saturated flow:

V = k* i

v= discharge velocity
k=coefficient of permeability
i= hydraulic gradient (head loss
between two points divided by the
between them) 12/24/18
The discharge velocity can be used to
determine the discharge by:
Q = AV

Q= discharge or the volume of flow per

unit time
A= cross sectional area normal to the
direction of flow

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 Rational Formula: for the estimation of
the peak run-off for highway drainage

Q = C x I x Ad
Q - Run-off, m3/sec
C - Run - off coefficient (ratio of runoff to the rate
of rainfall)
I – Intensity of rainfall, mm/sec
Ad – Drainage area, 1000 m2

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A1C1  A2C2  A3C3 ......
A1  A2  A3 ......

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Values of c
Soil Cover “C”
Steep, bare rock, also city pavements 0.90
Rocks steep, wooded 0.80
Plateau, lightly covered 0.70
Clayey soils, stiff and bare 0.60
Clayey soils, lightly covered 0.50
Loam, lightly, cultivated or covered 0.40
Loam, Predominately cultivated 0.30
Sandy soil, light growth 0.20
Sandy soil, covered, heavy bush 0.10

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Determination of i
 I is determined for the expected duration of
storm and frequency of occurrence.
 Inlet time for storm water to flow from most
remote point in drainage area to the drain inlet
is estimated by using chart.
 The time for water to flow through the drain
between the inlet and outlet points is
determined based on the allowable velocity of
flow in the drain [0.3-1.5 m/sec].
 The time of concentration or the duration of
storm for design may be taken as the sum of
inlet time & the time of flow through drain.
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 The frequency of occurrence (return
period) may be taken as (5, 10, 25,
30 years)
 The design value of rainfall intensity
(I) is found corresponding to the
duration of storm and the selected
value of the frequency.
 Drainage area A is determined with
the help of contour map.

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Intensity-duration curve

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 The distance between the farthest point in the
turf covered drainage area (with an average
slope of 1.5% towards the drain) and the point
of entry to side drain is 200m. The weighted
average value of the run-off coefficient is
0.25. The length of the longitudinal open drain
in a sandy clay soil from the inlet point to the
cross drainage is 540m. The velocity of flow in
the side drain may be assumed as 0.6m/sec.
Estimate the design quantity of flow on the
side drain for a ten years period of frequency
of occurrence of the storm.
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Hydraulic Design
 It includes determination of cross section of
side drain and openings of cross-drainage.
Cross sectional area of the side drain may be
determined with the help of this formula.

Q = AV
 Where,
V = allowable velocity in m/sec
Q=Quantity of surface water m3/sec
A= Area of cross section of the channel,
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Type of soil Allowable velocity m/sec
Silt 0.3-0.5
Loam 0.6-0.9
Clay 0.9-1.5
Gravel 1.2-1.5
Soil covered with well 1.5-1.8
established grass

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2 1
1 3 2
V R S
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 Roughness coefficient depends
upon the type of soil.
 Ordinary earth - 0.02
 Heavy vegetation - 0.05-0.10
 Concrete - 0.013
 Rough rubble masonry - 0.04

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Type ‘n’
Closed conduits :
Concrete pipe 0.011 - 0.018
Corrugated metal 0.024
Cast iron pipe 0.013
Brick 0.014 - 0.017
Cement rubble 0.019 - 0.023
masonry with
natural floor
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Type ‘n’
Open Channels:
Earthen, clean, recently 0.016 - 0.018
Earthen with short grass and 0.022 - 0.027
Gravely soil, clean, uniform 0.022 - 0.025
Earthen fairly uniform sides, 0.030 - 0.040
clean cobble bottom
Concrete formed no finish 0.013 - 0.017
Concrete bottom, dressed stone 0.015 - 0.017
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Data for drainage design
 Total road length & width of land strip from
where, water is expected to flow into side
 Run-off coefficients of different types of
surfaces and their respective area in the
drainage area.
 Distance from farthest point in the
drainage area to the inlet of the side drain
along the steepest gradient and average
value of slope.
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 Type of soil of the side drain,
roughness coefficient and allowable
velocity of the flow in the drain.
 Rainfall data, average rainfall
intensity & frequency of occurrence
of flood.

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Design Steps
1. Flood frequency (10-15 Years) is decided.
2. C1, C2, C3 & A1, A2, A3 ……values are
determined then weighted value of C is
3. Inlet time T1, is found by using chart
depending upon, slope and type of land.
4. Time of flow along longitudinal drain T2 is
5. T2 = L / V
Where, L = length of drain
V = allowable velocity in m /sec.

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1. Time of concentration (rainfall duration): T = T1
+ T2
2. Using the chart, I is calculated with value of T.
3. The run-off quantity is computed Q = CIA [in
4. Cross-sectional area of the drain is calculated.
[A = Q /V]
5. Required depth of the flow in the drain is
calculated for convenient bottom width & side
slope and necessary free board is to be
6. Using Manning’s formula S is calculated.
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 The surface water from a roadside is drained to the
longitudinal side drain from across one half of a
bituminous pavement surface of total width of 7.0 m,
shoulder and adjoining land of width 8.0 m on one side
of drain. On the other side of the longitudinal drain,
water flows across from reserve land with grass and 2%
cross slope towards the side drain, the width of this
strip of the land being 25 m. The run off coefficients of
the pavement, shoulder and reserve land with grass
surface are 0.8, 0.25, and 0.35 respectively. The length
of the stretch of land parallel to the road from where
water is expected to flow to the side drain is about 400
m. estimate the quantity of run-off flowing in the drain
assuming 25 years period of frequency.

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 Design the cross section and slope of
the side drain in loamy soil with
Manning’s roughness coefficient
0.025 and acceptable speed of flow
0.8 m/sec.
 Assume bottom width of trapezoidal
drain is 0.5m, slope of 1.0 vertical to
1.5 horizontal.

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Surface drainage system
 Road side drain/ catch drain-
longitudinal drainage
• Shape: rectangular
Semi circular

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 Transverse drainage
 Culverts: slab, pipe, arch etc
 Causeways
 Aqueduct
 Inverted siphon
 Minor bridge

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Energy dissipating structures
 Drain lining
 Ditch checks
 Stilling basins
 Drop structures

 Control of seepage flow
 Control of capillary rise
 Lowering of water table

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Design steps

Hydrological study

Hydraulic design

Structural design

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Surface drainage design
 Hydraulic design determines the
dimension of the structures such that
maximum runoff is disposed
 Hydraulics of road drains
 Are designed on the principle of “flow
through open channels”
 Fundamental equation manning's
 Chezy equation – refer hydraulics

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Side drains
 Provided along the road side
 Intercept running water from
carriageway, shoulder
 Main structures in hill roads
 Shape- trapezoidal with flat slope
 Hill- rocky area- triangular
 If top to be covered- rectangular

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 Slope- as far as possible as that of
 Min 30 cm depth
 Placed below sub-grade to prevent
 Design- manning equation--see

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Erosion control and dissipating structures

 Caused by the flow of water in the

rainy season
 Depends upon climatic condition such
as intensity of rainfall, duration, soil
type, slop of hill etc
 Concerned with the dissipation of
energy- reduction of velocity of flow
 Protection measures

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 Lining of drains and ditch
 Road rapid
 Cascading
 Check dams
 Miscellaneous: vegetation

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Rain drops hit the slope surface

Impact of raindrop detaches the

particle of soil

The runoff water flowing on slope

surface transports the detached
particle and may also contribute
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 Wind Erosion
Exposed slope of non-cohesive loose and dry soil
Lack of shelter from wind

Exposed surface with out any protection


Wind velocity

Particle size of the material exposed to wind

Moisture content of soil

Vegetative cover
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Rain erosion is phenomenon of transporting of soil
particle due to water action, the influencing factors for
rain water erosion are

Potential of flowing water for initiating particle


Physical features ie topography, gradient, embankment

slope etc

Soil erodibility governed by clay content, particle size

distribution, compaction , permeability, shear strength
parameters etc of the soil

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 To prevent damage to land adjacent
to the road structure
 To reduce the soil loss from the land
width of road, which silts up drainage
channel and pollute rivers
 To contribute to the improvement of
the aesthetics of the landscape
 To protect and preserve the earth
work of fill or cut slope, ditches and
drainage structure
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Agronomic method
Non-agronomic method
Reinforced vegetation
Coir geotextiles-Made from coconut fiber
extracted from the husk of the coconut fruit

It is a biodegradable organic fiber material

containing cellulose and lignin

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 Lining of drains and ditch checks
 Flow velocity greater than
 Scouring control
 Pitch- gravel, grass
 Bed slope less than 1%- sandy soil-
no lining
 Bed slope greater than 5%- all types
of soil- cement sand mortar
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Mitre Drains
 The mitre drains (or off-shoot drains) lead
water away from the side ditches to lower
 By installing mitre drains at frequent
intervals, it is possible to reduce the risk of
both soil erosion and silting.
 Mitre drains are also used for diverting
water away from the abutments on
crossroad drainage structures such as
bridges and drifts.
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Scour Checks
 Depending on the prevailing site
conditions, soil erosion in the side drains
can be countered using a number of
different measures:
• as mentioned earlier, by installing
frequent mitre drains, the amount of water
in the drains can be kept at a minimum,
 • by increasing the dimensions of the side
drains (i.e. the width), the flow of water
can be kept at slow speeds,

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Catch water drains[cut off drains]
 Catch water drains are ditches more or less
parallel to the road.
 Their function is to catch water coming from
higher lying areas before it reaches the road
 to direct water to where it can safely cross
the road crossings such as culverts, bridges
 These drains, when properly built, are very
effective in reducing the amount of water
around the road,
 limiting the damage to the road and
consequently reducing maintenance costs.
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Road rapid
 Drains having bed slope generally
higher than the critical slope
 Provided on short length as inlet and
outlet drains adjacent to cross
drainage structures
 At the end of catch drain or
intercepting drains
 Consists of inlet, main conduit stilling
basin & outlet
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Fall / drop structures
 Provided in hill roads where bed slope
of existing drain is very high
 u/s and d/s of cross drainage
 Drop structures without stilling basin
 Reducing energy of flowing water
 Design- determination of length of
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Bank protection
 Many roads are aligned along river
 Best vertical alignment
 Erosion due to stream attack on the
toe [embankment] or existing slope
 Protection from rivers- structures
perpendicular to the flow

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Sub- surface drainage
 Surface drainage system- first
preventive measure
 Unfortunately water finds its own way
to get into the sub grade and further
 Sub grade soil may be saturated by –
free water, ground water
 All pavement design consider- sub
grade characteristics
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 Drainage of infiltrated water
 During heavy rainfall water finds its
way to sub grade through permeable
surface from adjoining land, side
slopes, shoulder and cracks
 Removed by providing- sand blanket,
perforated pipes

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 Control of seepage flow
 Seepage from higher ground is likely
to occur un hilly areas and road
 Occurrence of springs
 Moisture soften the sub grade
 Solution by intercepting the seepage
water on the uphill side of the road

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Interception of sub grade flow by
surface drain
 If seepage zone is close to the
surface- by side drains- deeper than
usual as seepage water must be kept
at least 1.25 m below formation level
 By deep drainage trench

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Lowering water table
 In low lying areas water table may rise
as high as to the pavement
 If sub grade is made of fines- moisture
may come up due to capillary action
even if water table is lower.
 Sometimes –economical to lower the
water table than to raise the formation
for long section of road

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 Lowering water table by subdrains on
either side of the road
 The depth to which drains should be laid
depends on width of road, soil type
 Pipes should be prevented from silting
and scouring
 Longitudinal slope of pipes may be 0.15
to 1%
 Outlet from drains provide at 100m
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 Functioning of drainage – inspected
from chamber [man hole] at suitable
 Man hole serves for maintenance of
drainage system e.g. backwashing of
filter material and cleaning of pipes

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 Measures of capillary vapour transfer
 In water logged areas- water table
may rise due to capillary action
 In such cases- capillary cut off are
provided to prevent sub grade
 Prevention by
 Sand blanket, gravel blanket
 Tarfelt

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 Polythene envelope
 Impermeable membrane such as
bituminized surfacing
 Use of bitumen stabilized soil sub

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Design of subsurface drain
 Determine the depth of trench
 Select backfill materials for trench
 Determine pipe size and numbers
 Determine the diameter of pipe

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 Aggregates can be used as drainage
layers and French drains or as filter
materials for their protection.
 Aggregates to be used for drainage layers
and French drains should consist of
sound, clean and open-graded materials.
 They must have a high permeability to
accommodate the free passage of water
and be protected from clogging by means
of a filter.

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 To obtain the desired permeability,
the fine portions need be deleted;
thus, the stability of the drainage
layer may be adversely affected.

 This can be compensated for by

stabilizing the drainage layer with a
small amount of asphalt or portland

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 Table shows the permeability of untreated and
asphalt treated open graded aggregates. It
can be seen that the use of 2% asphalt
reduces the permeability only slightly.
Aggregate Untreated Treated
size, in with 2%
1.5 – 1 140,000 120,000
0.75 – 38,000 35,000
0.375 8000 6000
0.19 –

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Filter criteria
 Any aggregate used for drainage
must satisfy the following filter
 1. Clogging Criteria
 2. Permeability Criteria
 3. Additional Criteria

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 The filter material must be fine enough to
prevent the adjacent finer material from
piping or migrating into the filter material:

 D15 and D85 are the grain size corresponding

to 15 and 85% passing respectively, and can
be obtain from the grain size curves of each
 This criterion should be applied not only to the
filter material but also to the drainage layer.

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 Permeability criteria
 The filter material must be coarse enough to
carry water without any significant resistance:

Additional Criterion
(By the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

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Cross drainage structure
 Culverts: upto 6 m length
 Minor bridge: more than 6 m and upto
20 m length
 Medium bridge: Above 20 m length,
span length less than 20 m.
 Major bridge: bridge with span length
greater than 20 m.
 Causeway: which allow the water to flow
over the road way.

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Vented Fords

 Vented fords, also referred to as

 can provide a cost-effective
alternative to culverts and bridges.
 vented fords are commonly used
for crossing rivers and streams
which carry a minimal flow of
water through the dry season.

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 The advantage of the ford is that it is a
relatively inexpensive structure
 appropriate for both narrow and wide
river crossings.
 Vented fords use a combination of
culvert pipes to discharge water under
the road during low water flows,
 a drift slab allowing water to overtop
the structure during high water flows.

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 Is a closed conduit placed under the
embankment to carry water across the
 Cross drainage structure- extensively
used in hill roads
 75% of cross drainage structures are
 Span upto 6m [ 8m in most severe case]
 Upto 20m- minor bridges

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 Culverts are the most common cross-drainage
structure used on roads. They are built using a
variety of materials, in different shapes and
sizes, depending on the preferred design and
construction practices.
 Culverts are required in order to
 (i) allow natural streams to cross the road, and
 (ii) discharge surface water from drains and
the areas adjacent to the road.

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 Culverts form an essential part of the
drainage system on most roads
 most road construction or
rehabilitation works include the
installation or repair of culverts.

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 Culverts allow water to cross
underneath the road.
 Their function is to lead water from
the uphill side of the road to the
lower side where it can be safely
 The water may be from natural
streams or run-off surface water from
the road structure or areas close to
the road.
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 Design consists of
 Hydrology
 Hydraulics
 Structure

Hydrological study
Fixing of water way
Selection of structures and its types
Fulfilling of profile requirements

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 Culvert inlet
 Culvert barrel
 Culvert outlet

 Abutment
 Wing walls
 deck slab

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 References
 Highway engineering- khanna and justo
 Highway engineering- L R Kardiyali
 Web sites

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