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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation
FHWA Highway Safety Programs

Maintenance of Drainage Features for Safety

A Guide for Local Street and Highway Maintenance Personnel

fhwasa09024.pdf (9.17 MB)

July 2009

"Cover Image - Maintenance of Drainage Features for Safety"

This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The United States Government assumes no liability for its content or use thereof.
The contents of this report reflect the views of the author, who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official policy of the Department of Transportation.
This report does not constitute a manual, handbook, standard, specification, or regulation.
The United States Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Any trademarks or manufacturers’ names that appear herein do so only because they are considered essential to the objective of this document.


Technical Documentation Page

1. Report No. FHWA


2. Government Accession No.

3. Recipient’s Catalog No.

4. Title and Subtitle

Maintenance of Drainage Features for Safety, A Guide for Local Street and Highway Maintenance Personnel

5. Report Date

July 2009

6. Performing Organization Code

7. Authors

FHugh W. McGee, P.E., Daniel Nabors, P.E., and Timothy Baughman, P.E. (editors).

8. Performing Organization Report No.

9. Performing Organization Name and Address

10. Work Unit No.

Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc.

8300 Boone Boulevard, Suite 700

Vienna, VA 22182-2626

11. Contract or Grant No.


12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

Office of Safety
Federal Highway Administration
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20590

13. Type of Report and Period Covered

Final Report


14. Sponsoring Agency Code

15. Supplementary Notes:

The FHWA Office of Safety Contract Task Order Manager was Ms. Karen Timpone. The document was originally prepared by staff at FHWA as a revision to the 1990 edition of the same title FHWA-RT-90-005. Those identified as authors above provided additional material and served as technical editors.

16. Abstract

This guide was prepared to help local road agency maintenance workers understand the importance of maintaining and upgrading drainage features on their road system. Storm water that stands or ponds on the road surface and shoulders can contribute to crashes. It can cause hydroplaning under water conditions and skidding under icing conditions. Water run-off can deteriorate the shoulder, sideslopes, and reduce the effectiveness of safety hardware (guardrails, sign posts, etc.) This guide identifies typical drainage problems and suggests corrective measures to improve safety.

17. Key Words

Vegetation control, safety, maintenance, sight distance

18. Distribution Statement

No restrictions. This document is available to the public through the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA 22161.

19. Security Classif. (of this report)


20. Security Classif. (of this page)


21. No. of Pages:


22. Price

Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72) - Reproduction of completed pages authorized