PRESENT PRACTICE IN SUBSURFACE DRAINAGE FOR HIGHWAYS AND AIRPORTS

A TABULATION IS PRESENTED OF REPLIES TO A QUESTIONNAIRE PREPARED BY THE COMMITTEE ON SUBSURFACE DRAINAGE, HIGHWAY RESEARCH BOARD. NEARLY ALL REPLIES STATED THAT FAULTY SUBSURFACE DRAINAGE CAUSED PAVEMENT FAILURES, INCLUDING RUTTING AND SHOVING A FLEXIBLE PAVEMENT, PUMPING IN CONCRETE PAVEMENTS AND FROST HEAVES AND BOILS IN BOTH TYPES OF PAVEMENT. PRACTICALLY ALL REPLIES GAVE CLOGGING OF BACKFILL MATERIAL, AND SOMETIMES PIPE, AS THE CHIEF CAUSE OF SUBSURFACE DRAINAGE FAILURES. UNDER IMPROVEMENTS SINCE 1942, PRACTICALLY ALL REPLIES NOTED IMPROVED BACKFILL MATERIAL. THEIR SPECIFICATIONS NOW CALL FOR CONCRETE SAND, CLEAN BANK-RUN SAND, OR BANK-RUN GRAVEL (OR THE EQUIVALENT) FOR BACKFILL WITH OCCASIONALLY 1/2 OR 1-1/2-IN. STONE GIVEN AS AN ALTERNATE. ABOUT HALF THE ORGANIZATIONS USE EITHER A FILTER TEST OR THE VICKSBURG PIPING RATIO CRITERION FOR FILTER DESIGN. THE OTHERS MAKE NO TEST. THE ALMOST UNANIMOUS USE OF CLEAN, SANDY BACKFILL IS IN MARKED CONTRAST TO THE EARLIER PRACTICE WHERE THREE-FOURTHS OF THE STATES USED STONE OR SCREENED GRAVEL. PRACTICALLY ALL ORGANIZATIONS USE PERFORATED METAL PIPE AND TILE PIPE. SOME ALSO USE CONCRETE PIPE. AS WOULD BE EXPECTED, THE CHIEF USE OF UNDERDRAIN INSTEAD OF DEEP DITCHES OCCURS WHERE THE LATTER WOULD BE A TRAFFIC HAZARD. DEPTH OF PIPE INVERT OR DEEP DITCH VARIES BETWEEN 2 AND 6 FT. USUALLY IT IS ABOUT 2 FT. DEEPER THAN THE AVERAGE FROST PENETRATION UNDER A BARE PAVEMENT. ABOUT TWO-THIRDS OF THE STATES REPORT THAT SUBBASE IS CARRIED OUT TO FULL WIDTH OF SHOULDERS. THE BALANCE REPLIED THAT IT IS CARRIED ONLY TO 1 OR 2 FT. BEYOND EDGE OF PAVEMENT. TOTAL THICKNESS OF SURFACE, BASE, AND SUBBASE VARIES WIDELY, OF COURSE, WITH CONDITIONS OF FROST, SOIL, TRAFFIC, ETC. AND IS FROM 6 TO 32 IN. THICK. THE REPLIES ON SAND DRAINAGE WELLS SHOW THAT FOUR STATE HIGHWAY DEPARTMENTS HAVE USED THEM. REPLIES FROM FEDERAL AGENCIES INCLUDED MENTION OF THEM ON ABOUT FOUR DAMS OR DIKES AND THREE AIRPORTS. IN EACH CASE THE RESULTS WERE FAVORABLE. /AUTHOR/

  • Record URL:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • No 45, 20 PP, 2 FIG, 3 TAB, 12 REF Distribution, posting, or copying of this PDF is strictly prohibited without written permission of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials in this PDF are copyrighted by the National Academy of Sciences. Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved
  • Authors:
    • Keene, Philip
    • Horner, Seward E
  • Publication Date: 1951

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Pagination: 20p
  • Monograph Title: Subsurface drainage
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00204177
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Apr 28 1994 12:00AM