Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Overhaul of road drainage upkeep vital says Motts

News

INSPECTION OF road drainage needs drastic improvement to stave off fears that another wet winter will waterlog the road network, a senior highways engineer warned this week.

Director at consultant Mott MacDonald, John Henderson, called for changes to the Highways Agency's maintenance guidelines, set out in the Road Maintenance Manual System (RMMS) which is being updated, to avoid a repeat of the serious damage to roads after record rainfall during the winter.

'Drainage is a major factor in road pavement design, ' he said.

'If drains are blocked or damaged and groundwater builds up in the subsoil, you can get a rapid deterioration in the road base.'

The problem was particularly bad for low lying cuttings, he said.

Excess groundwater softens the ground and reduces the loading capability of the road. Heavy traffic then damages the surface.

Most highway inspection procedures do not look at the state of road drains. 'Most work is confined to cleaning gully pots, channels and ditches, ' said Henderson, 'but in my experience siltation and blockage from vegetation - even from tree roots growing through drains - can cause major problems.' Pipe junctions are also vulnerable.

Damage could be detected early by making use of modern mobile inspection tools such as CCTV sledges and trolleys.

The Highways Agency confirmed this week that it was reviewing road drainage over the next year in its Trunk Road Maintenance Manual. It is understood that changes could include a less prescriptive approach to road drainage.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.