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REG 265

Surface Drainage

Objectives
Identify rural drainage requirements and
design
Ref:

AASHTO Highway Drainage

Drainage Design (Design Floods &
Culvert Design 2004))
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Surface Drainage
Surface

water removed from pavement and

ROW
Redirects water into appropriately designed
channels
Eventually discharges into natural water
systems
Garber & Hoel, 2002
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Surface Drainage
Two

types of water

Surface water rain and snow

Ground water can be a problem when a water
table is near surface

Garber & Hoel, 2002

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Damage

to highway structures
Loss of capacity
Visibility problems with spray and loss of
retroreflectivity
Safety problems, reduced friction and
hydroplaning
Garber & Hoel, 2002
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Drainage

Transverse slopes

Longitudinal slopes

Removes water from pavement surface

Facilitated by cross-section elements (cross-slope, shoulder
slope)
in longitudinal channels

Longitudinal channels

Ditches along side of road to collect surface

water after run-off
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Transverse slope

Longitudinal slope

Longitudinal channel

Surface Drainage System Design

Tradeoffs: Steep slopes provide good hydraulic
capacity and lower ROW costs, but reduce
safety and increase erosion and maintenance
costs

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Three phases
1.
2.
3.

Estimate quantity of water to reach the system

Hydraulic design of system elements
Comparison of different materials that serve same
purpose

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Method

Useful for small, usually urban, watersheds

(<10acres, but DOT says <200acres)

Q = CIA (English) or Q = 0.0028CIA (metric)

Q = runoff (ft3/sec) or (m3/sec)
C = coefficient representing ratio of runoff to rainfall
I = intensity of rainfall (in/hour or mm/hour)
A = drainage area (acres or hectares)
The Rational Method

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Runoff Coefficient
o

Coefficient that
represents the fraction
of rainfall that becomes
runoff
Depends on type of
surface

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Character of surface and soil

Shape of drainage area
Antecedent moisture conditions
Slope of watershed
Amount of impervious soil
Land use
Duration
Intensity
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C = 0.16 for
low intensity
event for
cultivated
fields
C = 0.42 for
high intensity
event

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The Rational Method

Runoff Coefficient
When

a drainage area has distinct parts with

different C values
Use the weighted average
C = C1A1 + C2A2 + .. + CnAn
Ai

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Watershed Area
For

DOT method measured in acres

(hectares)
Combined area of all surfaces that drain to a
given intake or culvert inlet
Determine boundaries of area that drain to
same location

i.e high points mark boundary

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Watershed Area
Topographic

maps
Aerial photos
Digital elevation models
Drainage maps
Field reviews

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Intensity

Average intensity for a selected frequency and duration over

drainage area for duration of storm
Based on design event (i.e. 50-year storm)
Overdesign is costly
Duration is important
Based on values of Tc and T
Tc = time of concentration
T = recurrence interval or design frequency

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2-year interval -- Design of intakes and spread of

water on pavement for primary highways and city
streets
10-year interval -- Design of intakes and spread of
highways
50 - year -- Design of subways (underpasses) and
sag vertical curves where storm sewer pipe is the
only outlet
100 year interval -- Major storm check on all
projects

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Time for water to flow from hydraulically most distant point on

the watershed to the point of interest
Rational method assumes peak run-off rate occurs when
rainfall intensity (I) lasts (duration) >= Tc
Used as storm duration
Iowa DOT says dont use Tc<5 minutes

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Time of Concentration (Tc)

Depends on:
Size and shape of drainage area
Type of surface
Slope of drainage area
Rainfall intensity
Whether flow is entirely overland or whether some is
channelized

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Tc: Equation from Iowa DOT Manual

See nomograph, next page
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Nomograph Method

Trial and error method:

Known: surface, size (length), slope
Look up n
Estimate I (intensity)
Determine Tc

Check I and Tc against values in Table

5 (Iowa DOT, Chapter 4)
Repeat until Tc (table) ~ Tc (nomograph)
Peak storm event occurs when
duration at least = Tc
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Iterate finding I and Tc

L = 150 feet
Average slope, S = 0.02 (2%)
Grass
Recurrence interval, T = 10 years
Location: Keokuk
Find I
From Iowa DOT Design Manual

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Grass Surface,
Mannings
roughness
coefficient = 0.4

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knowns

Tc=18

First guess I = 5 in/hr

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Example (continued)
Tc

Check

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Convert intensity to inches/hour

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For intensity of 5
inch/hr, duration is 15
min
Tc from nomograph was
18 min 15 min
Tc Duration
Next iteration, try
intensity = 4.0 inch/hr

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Slope = 0.02

I = 4.0
inches/hr
Tc = 20 min
For second iteration, tc = 20 min

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Example (continued)

I = 4.0 inches/hour is
somewhere between
30 min and 15 min,
Interpolate OK!

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It means that for a ten-year storm, the greatest intensity to be

expected for a storm lasting at least the Tc (18 min.) is 4.0
inches per hour

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Can also use equation, this example is

provided in Chapter 4-4 of the Iowa
DOT manual
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Rational Method

used for mostly urban applications

limited to about 10 acres in size (some sources suggest 200acre limit)
Q = CIA
Calculate Q once C, I, and A have been found

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Area

Area of watershed
Defined by topography
Use GIS contours in lab

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Lab-type Example

60-acre watershed
50-year storm
Mixed cover
Rolling terrain

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180

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