Sie sind auf Seite 1von 25

Higher Diploma in Civil Engineering | CON4381 Highway Engineering

3 Highway Drainage

Drainage infrastructure for a road project is planned and designed to provide a standard or level of
drainage immunity that conforms to good engineering practice and that also meets government
and community expectations. Modern highway drainage design should incorporate safety, good
appearance, control of pollutants, and economical maintenance. This may be accomplished with
flat sideslopes, board drainage channels, and liberal warping and rounding.
Highway drainage mainly concerned with the flow of surface water and subsurface water. The
principles of hydrology necessary for understanding rainfall as a water source are included.
Moreover, the fundamental design principles for surface and subsurface drainage facilities are
described in this chapter.


Road surface drainage deals with the drainage of stormwater runoff from the road surface and the
surfaces adjacent to the road formation. Several elements can be used to intercept or capture
this runoff and facilitate its safe discharge to an appropriate receiving location. These include:

kerb and channel;

edge and median drainage;

table drains and blocks;

diversion drains and blocks;

batter drains;

catch drains and banks;

drainage pits; and

pipe networks

The first and last of the above list, i.e. kerb inlet and pipe networks, are of more relevance to the
road network in Hong Kong, and are the focuses of this chapter. In the following, hydrological
study will be discussed first to quantity the surface runoff and is followed by discussion on
hydraulic design.

Topic 3 Highway Drainage | Page 3-1

Higher Diploma in Civil Engineering | CON4381 Highway Engineering


Hydrological Study

Hydrological study can be described as the science which deals with the operations governing the
circulation of moisture in its various forms, above, on and beneath the earths surface. The
various phases of the hydrologic cycle are precipitation, surface runoff, infiltration, evaporation
and transpiration. The two main phases of the hydrologic cycle in which the highway engineer is
most interested are precipitation and runoff.

Surface Runoff
Water table

Hydrologic Cycle

Rainfall intensity is the amount of rainfall measured in mm at a specific location for a period of
time. The instantaneous rainfall intensity varies during a rainstorm, and it is thus more practical
to describe the average intensity within a specified time, commonly expressed in the unit of
mm/hr. The average intensity is inversely proportional to the length of storm (duration of
rainfall); i.e. the longer the rainfall, the smaller the average rainfall intensity since the
meteorological forces which cause a heavy rainfall in an area are also continually causing it to
move quickly to another area.
Given the same rainstorm duration, there can be different peak rainfall intensity (average over the
given duration) due to the rarity or severity of the storm, which is a measure of strength or
amount of rainfall of the occurrence of precipitation. The peak rainfall intensity must be higher
for a storm of a rarer occurrence. The extent of rarity is conventionally specified based on an
Average Recurrence Interval (ARI), which is defined as the average interval in years between
exceedances of a specified event (i.e. rainfall or discharge) and is written as ARI years. It is,
for example, commonly referred to a frequency of once in 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 or 200 years
despite the ARI is really a probability rather than an actual period between occurrences.
For engineering applications, it is common practice to present the extreme rainfall intensities as
intensity-duration-frequency (IDF) curves. Lam and Leung (1994), of the then Royal Observatory,
Hong Kong, used the Wisners formula to derive the IDF curves for rainstorm of duration not more
than 240 minutes for different return periods, which is expressed in the following form:

Topic 3 Highway Drainage | Page 3-2

Higher Diploma in Civil Engineering | CON4381 Highway Engineering

where =
, , =

( + )

extreme mean intensity in mm/hr

duration of storm in minutes
storm constants calibrated from data, which can be made reference to,
say, DSDs Stormwater Drainage Manual

Storm Constants for Different Return Periods (based on Gumbel Solution)

(Table 3, Stormwater Drainage Manual (2013) published by DSD, HKSAR)
Return period T


0.43 0.42





For longer rainstorm, a different approach in considering the depth of rain is adopted and one is
referred to other text including the DSDs Stormwater Drainage Manual.
Remarks are given to the constant need of updating the values IDF curves and constants as well as
the appropriate methodology in obtaining accurate extreme rainfall intensity. Wong and Mok
(2009) shows that the annual rainfall and the frequency of occurrence of heavy rain events have
increased during the period of 1885 to 2008 and the impact of climate change is being carried out by
the Hong Kong Observatory (Ginn et al, 2010). Other parties are also involved in the study of
rainstorm profile for practical use in Hong Kong, for example, the following IDF curves are being
proposed in Tang and Cheung (2011) in a GEO report:

Topic 3 Highway Drainage | Page 3-3

Higher Diploma in Civil Engineering | CON4381 Highway Engineering

Rate of surface runoff () is the difference between the amount of rainfall during the time of
concentration and the losses due to infiltration, evaporation, transpiration, interception and
storage. Major factors governing amount of runoff are as follows:

Type and condition of the soil with respect to infiltration rainwater will infiltrate into
granular soil until the soil is saturated before the runoff flows on the surface.


Kind and extent of cultivation and/or vegetation.


Length and steepness of slopes.


Number, arrangement, slope and condition of the natural and manmade drainage
channels in the catchment area.


Irregularity of ground surface.


Size and shape of catchment.


Temperature of air and water.


Changes in land use.

The rate of surface runoff can be calculated by the Rational method, also known as the
Lloyd-Davies method. The Rational Method was used as far back as the mid-nineteenth century.
It continues to be the most commonly used rainfall-runoff analysis framework for design because
of its simplicity. It computes peak direct runoff instead of runoff hydrograph. The key concept of
this method is the assumption that uniform rainfall over time and space produces a steady peak
runoff after the water from all parts of the watershed has reached the runoff location considered.
The peak flow rate at a point of concern in the drainage system is computed by::=
where =



(m /sec)
3.6 106

maximum runoff (litre/sec)

design mean intensity of rainfall (mm/hr)
area of catchment (m2)
runoff coefficient

Runoff coefficient () is the ratio of surface flow to the amount of rainfall and is mainly dependent
on the impermeability of the surface. In general, the value of may be taken as 1.0, i.e. fully
impermeable, for developed urban areas. In less developed areas, unpaved surfaces may be
given a value less than 1.0, but consideration should be given to possible future development
and the possible saturation of soil with water before a rainstorm both of which will increase the
impermeability of the surface.
The runoff coefficient actually varies slightly with the rainfall intensity, as a matter of fact of
ponding effect as well as flow pattern of surface runoff. The following tables list out typical
values of of with respect to types of surface commonly encountered in Hong Kong and are
applicable for the more frequent storms (say 10-year and below). Less frequent storms of higher
Topic 3 Highway Drainage | Page 3-4

Higher Diploma in Civil Engineering | CON4381 Highway Engineering

intensity may require the use of different coefficients.

Character of surface
Lawns (heavy soil) - Flat
- Steep
Lawns (sandy soil) - Flat
- Steep

0.70 to 0.95
0.80 to 0.95
0.70 to 0.85
0.13 to 0.25
0.25 to 0.35
0.05 to 0.15
0.15 to 0.20

The runoff coefficient is a function of land use. If land use within the area is non-uniform, it is a
common practice to use an equivalent runoff coefficient computed by area-weighted averaging.
For a catchment consisting of sub-catchments of areas each with different runoff
coefficients , the peak runoff at the drainage outlet is given by the following expression:
= =
where is the conversion factor corresponding to the adopted units.
Due to the assumptions of homogeneity of rainfall and equilibrium conditions at the time of peak
flow, the Rational Method should not be used on areas larger than 1.5 km2 without subdividing
the overall catchment into smaller catchments and including the effect of routing through
drainage channels. The same consideration shall also be applied when ground gradients vary
greatly within the catchment.
In a rainstorm, the instantaneous rainfall intensity varies with time and in general exhibits a
negative correlation with the duration of rainstorm, i.e. the instantaneous rainfall intensity would
gradually decrease with the duration. If the rainfall is more intense but of shorter duration not
all the catchment will contribute to the peak runoff; whereas if the rainfall is of longer duration
the average intensity over that duration will be less and the peak runoff will be less even though
the entire catchment contributes. For design purpose, the most intense rainfall that contributes
to the outflow will be that with a duration equal to the time of concentration of the catchment
(which will be discussed shortly below). Therefore, is the duration used to select the design
rainfall intensity from the intensity-duration-frequency (IDF) relationship (i.e. ) discussed in the
previous section.
The time of concentration ( ) is the duration of rainfall commonly used in highway drainage
design. It is defined either as (a) the time taken for water to flow from the most remote point on
the catchment to the outlet or point of interest; or (b) the time taken from the start of rainfall until
all of the catchment is simultaneously contributing to flow at the outlet or point of interest. The
significance of the time of concentration is that peak outflow will almost always result when the
entire catchment is contributing flow from rainfall on the catchment. The time of concentration
is generally made up of three components:
1. Overland flow time across natural or paved surfaces including retardance due to pondage
Topic 3 Highway Drainage | Page 3-5

Higher Diploma in Civil Engineering | CON4381 Highway Engineering

on the surface or behind obstructions;

2. Time of flow in natural and artificial channels; and
3. Time of flow in pipes.
The first two components are always considered for surface runoff across both natural terrains
and built areas; however, the third component is only considered where there is an urban
drainage system in place.

Time of Concentration in Surface Runoff

In natural catchments where surfaces are generally unpaved and surface water travels along
natural lines of flow, the time of concentration may be estimated from the following equation
which is a modified form of the Brandsby Williams equation:0 =

0.2 0.1

where 0 = time of concentration (minutes)

= area of catchment (m2)
= average slope (m per 100 m) measured on the line of natural flow, from the summit
of the catchment to the point of design
= distance (on plan) measured on the line of natural flow between the design section
and that point of the catchment from which water would take the longest time to
reach the design section (m).
The average slope in a watershed can be calculated using the Average Basin Slope method or the
Channel Slope method. Once the slope is determined, the time can be found by the application of
the above equation or by using a nomograph.

Distance L
Average slope H


Design section

Drainage of natural catchment

Topic 3 Highway Drainage | Page 3-6

Higher Diploma in Civil Engineering | CON4381 Highway Engineering

Time of Concentration in Urban Drainage System

In urban catchments where surface water from paved surfaces, rooftops etc. is led directly to
established drainage channels or stormwater sewers, the time of concentration is the sum of all
three components as noted before. The first two components concern flow on open surface, and
the corresponding duration is termed as the entry time ( ) to the urban drainage system, which is
then added by the time of flow ( ) in the pipe system to give = + .
Entry time ( ) is the time required for a raindrop to flow from the most remote part of the
catchment area to the point of entry to a drainage system. It varies with the nature of surface
cover, surface gradient, spacing of inlets, method of collecting and discharging roof drainage, and
the rainfall intensity. Generally, inlet time of 3 to 10 minutes may be used for well-developed
urban areas, the lower figure being applicable to areas where water flows quickly to stormwater
drains through closely spaced inlets and the upper figure applicable to areas which are relatively
flat with widely spaced inlets. When conditions fit, one may use Brandsby Williams equation
with appropriate parameters as an approximation of .

( )
( )
( )

Topic 3 Highway Drainage | Page 3-7

Higher Diploma in Civil Engineering | CON4381 Highway Engineering

The time of flow ( ) is the time required for the water to flow from the most remote inlet to the
design section in the drainage system. It may be estimated closely from the hydraulic properties
of the stormwater drain usually based on full-bore velocity, i.e. the pipe is running full of water.
It is common to estimate the pipe flow velocity using Colebrook-White equation which is
expressed in the following form in the DSDs Stormwater Drainage Manual (Table 12):

= 32 log10 (
14.8 32
which is readily applicable for full flow in a circular pipe when the hydraulic radius is equal to
one quarter of the pipe diameter , i.e. = 4.
Lastly, the choice of design storm frequency
requires engineering judgment on the tradeoff
between the risk of flooding and cost. As noted
before, it is expressed as the recurrence interval
or return period. The longer the returned
period, the higher the rainfall intensity and the
bigger the drainage costs in order to dispose of
the increase in runoff. However, the probability
of having a rainstorm of such severity or more is
at the same time smaller. It is therefore
necessary to consider the consequence of
flooding in order to determine what return
period should be used in the drainage design.

The following is a reproduction of Table 10 in Stormwater Drainage Manual HKSAR Planning, Design
and Management, which lists out recommended design return periods based on flood levels.
Intensively Used Agricultural Land
Village Drainage including Internal Drainage System under a Polder Scheme
Main Rural Catchment Drainage Channels
Urban Drainage Trunk Systems
Urban Drainage Branch Systems

2 5 years
10 years
50 years
200 years
50 years

Road Note 6 was first published by the Highways Department in 1983 providing methods for
drainage design on roads based on Transport Research Laboratory Reports Nos. LR277, LR602 and
CR2. The Note was later updated in 1994 (HyD, 1994) and is now superseded by Guidance Notes
on Road Pavement Drainage Design issued in 2010 (HyD, 2010). These Guidance Notes have
included the latest information and findings from extensive full scale testing carried out in Hong
Kong. HyD (2010) recommends a design return period of 1 in 50 years (with a minimum factor of
safety of 1.2) for the ultimate limit state and 2 per year for the serviceability limit state. The
rainfall duration is taken as 5 minutes, resulting in a design rainfall intensity of 270 mm/hr for the
ultimate limit state and 120 mm/hr for the serviceability limit state.

Topic 3 Highway Drainage | Page 3-8

Higher Diploma in Civil Engineering | CON4381 Highway Engineering


Hydraulic Design

Once the peak runoff has been determined for a particular catchment, the next step is to provide
a route for water to flow along from the highway to a suitable discharge point, known as outfall
which can be another drainage system, a natural watercourse, a nullah, or the sea. Hydraulic
design is the design of the drainage system to carry the runoff collected by gullies to the outfall
through stormwater sewer, channels, and culverts. The stormwater drainage system can be
divided into two types, stormwater sewer and open-channel. The stormwater drainage system
consists of collecting the surface runoff by a series of gullies and kerb weirs and carrying the water
through a network of underground pipes and manholes to the outfall.

A road gully is a waterway inlet designed to collect water which flows off the carriageway surface.
It consists of a gully pot (which acts as a trap for silt and small debris) connected by a pipe to an
underground pipe drain, and a steel frame fitted with a cover or grating which bridges the gully
pot. Normally, precast/preformed gully pots should be used instead of in-situ construction
except in very special cases where physical or other constraints do not allow their use. The

Topic 3 Highway Drainage | Page 3-9

Higher Diploma in Civil Engineering | CON4381 Highway Engineering

following are some of the advantages of using precast/preformed gullies:


easier to install and maintaining;


have a smooth internal finish which allows easy cleansing as debris tends to adhere to
rough in-situ concrete walls; and


where outfall trapping is required, it is simply the choice of a precast trapped gully pot
(it is extremely difficult to build an acceptable gully by in-situ construction)


Untrapped gullies are preferred to trapped gullies because the latter is susceptible to choking.
The connection to the storm sewer should either be via a Y-junction connection or a manhole.
For illustration, to provide for the capacity of 240 mm/hr rainfall intensity for an area of 300 m2 a
150 mm diameter gully connection with a hydraulic gradient of 2.6% will be sufficient. Otherwise,
a 225 mm diameter connection pipe will be required.

Gully Pots
The guidelines governing the design of road gullies in Hong Kong followed that of the then Road
Note 6 (first published in 1983 and updated in 1994) based on Transport Research Laboratory
Reports in the UK, and is recently replaced by the Guidance Note No. 35 since May 2010 based on
extensive research and findings from local studies and physical tests. The design principles
Topic 3 Highway Drainage | Page 3-10

Higher Diploma in Civil Engineering | CON4381 Highway Engineering

Gully Gratings (Highways Department Standard Drawing H3105)

covered here follow the current guidelines in this GN035. In brief, any design should be based on
the serviceability state considerations and checked for adequacy of the ultimate state conditions.
While the concept of the principles reflect the design philosophy, one should note specific figures,
e.g. rainfall intensity of certain ARI or flooded width, may be updated in accordance with the
prevailing climatic conditions and rainstorm profile.
Serviceability State Consideration
The design flooded width should represent a compromise between the need to restrict water
flowing on the carriageway to acceptable proportions to a reasonable level of cost efficiency.
The principle is to limit the likelihood of water flowing under the wheel paths of vehicles travelling
at high speed, and splashing over footways while travelling at low speed. Rainfall intensity of a
5-minute rainstorm of having a probability of occurrence of not more than 2 times per year is
considered for serviceability state design.
In general for flat and near flat Normal Roads, a design flooded width of 0.75 m under heavy
rainfall condition is adequate. This flooded width will imply that stormwater will just begin to
encroach into the wheel paths of vehicles, or would be restricted within the marginal strip, if
provided. A smaller flooded width is designed for steeper gradients to avoid any flow at a higher
velocity by-passing a particular gully but to add load to the next and subsequent gullies. The
maximum design gully spacing is also limited to 25 m in any case for the same reason.
Topic 3 Highway Drainage | Page 3-11

Higher Diploma in Civil Engineering | CON4381 Highway Engineering

The design flooded width on the slow lane sides of expressways with 2.5 m hard shoulder can be
increased to 1.0 m under heavy rainfall conditions, which will ensure that there is no
encroachment onto the adjoining traffic lane. Again, there is a need to limit the flooded width
on expressways with moderate and steep gradients. In this respect, under no circumstances
should gully spacing exceed 25 m or drained area of gully be larger than 600 m2.
Ultimate State Consideration
The purpose of the ultimate state design is to prevent the occurrence of overtopping of the kerb
height by the kerbline flow, and hence flooding in the adjoining land or properties, even in
exceptionally heavy rainstorms. In this design standard, rainfall intensity of for a 5-min rainstorm
with a probability of occurrence of 1 in 50 years is considered in the ultimate state design.
During design the flow height is checked against the available kerb height . The kerb
flow is mainly triangular in cross-section with crossfall being the side slope. A factor of
safety of = 1.2 is recommended in the guidance notes. Therefore given an ultimate flooded
width , a design is either acceptable if
or the gully spacing is in practice reduced proportionately by

, where is the

conversion factor to adjust between units.

In Hong Kong, the standard dropped kerb crossing has a kerb height of 125 mm. A kerb height of
150 mm can be used if necessary; otherwise the gully spacing should be adjusted if necessary.
Crossfall should be provided on all roads to drain stormwater to the kerb side channels. On
straight lengths of roads, crossfall is usually provided in the form of camber. On curves, crossfall
is usually provided through superelevation. The Transport Planning and Design Manual (TPDM)
suggests a standard crossfall of 2.5%. However, to facilitate surface drainage, a minimum
crossfall of 3% shall be provided for, except where required along transitions, where the
longitudinal gradient is 1% < < 5%.
Studies show that flows at differently sloped surface exhibit dissimilar hydraulic characteristics.
On a generally flat terrain, the flow is subcritical but that on a steeper gradient may be
supercritical in nature. The design should follow different approaches for these two flow regimes.
However a standardized methodology is adopted in HyDs guidance notes using two set of design
charts which values are also adjusted to enable the design using similar steps for gullies located at
the upstream crest, intermediate slope and terminal at a sag point. For such purposes, design
step set A is used for road with longitudinal gradient greater than 0.5% and set B
The design workflow for the gully spacing calculation and the key tables of design parameters in
GN035 are reproduced below for easy reference; one should refer to it for detailed discussions.

Topic 3 Highway Drainage | Page 3-12

Higher Diploma in Civil Engineering | CON4381 Highway Engineering

Topic 3 Highway Drainage | Page 3-13

Higher Diploma in Civil Engineering | CON4381 Highway Engineering

Table 3: Minimum Crossfalls

Longitudinal Gradient
1% or less OR 5% or more
Between 1% and 5%

Minimum Crossfall

Table 5: Reduction Factors for Gully Efficiency

Type of Gully

Table 4: Roughness Coefficients for Different Types of Road Surface

Road Surface
Concrete without flat channel
Concrete with flat channel
Bituminous Wearing Course
Precast block paving
Stone Mastic Asphalt (SMA) Wearing Course and Friction Course
Table 8: Minimum Rate of Provision of Overflow Weirs
Section of Road
longitudinal gradient > 7%
longitudinal gradient > 5% but not more than 7%
longitudinal gradient between 0.5% and 5% inclusive
longitudinal gradient < 0.5%
Sag points or blockage blackspots
Table 6: Reduction Factors for Blockage by Debris
Roads / Road Sections
longitudinal gradient less than 0.5% & near sag
longitudinal near amenity area or rural area
0.5% or
other sections
Normal Roads
longitudinal gradient less than 0.5%
near sag points or blockage
longitudinal blackspot, e.g. streets with
markets or hawkers
0.5% or
near amenity area or rural area
other sections


Rate of Provision of Overflow Weirs

Every other gully
Every third gully
No overflow weir
Every third gully
Every gully
Table 9: Additional Gullies at Sag Points
Catchment Area No. of Gullies at Sag
< 600


600 1,999


2,000 3,999


4,000 5,999



6,000 9,999


> 20,000

10 for the first
20,000m2, plus one
for every extra 5,000
or less m2

In addition to the gully spacing calculations, GN035 also provide guidelines in other relevant
aspects of road surface drainage which are of importance to a good design of the drainage system.
These include the allowance or provision for footway drainage, locating gullies at pedestrian
Topic 3 Highway Drainage | Page 3-14

Higher Diploma in Civil Engineering | CON4381 Highway Engineering

crossings, considerations of continuous drainage channel, flat channels and edge drains,
requirement and maintenance of gully pots, etc. In particular, gullies being the inlet to urban
drainage system, it is necessary to consider the overall capacity of outlet pipes of either a
gully-manhole system or simply that of a multiple gullies at certain locations such as sag points
highlighted in Table 9 of the guidance notes. As such, GN035 specifically states the need to check
the outlet pipe capacity against the required capacity to drain completely the design inflows
through these gully inlets :
where I is the ultimate state intensity. Should it is necessary to provide an outlet pipe of
inconvenient diameter (e.g. diameter exceeding 300mm), the designer may wish to provide an
additional outlet pipe in the middle of the series so as to maintain using smaller diameter outlet

Topic 3 Highway Drainage | Page 3-15

Higher Diploma in Civil Engineering | CON4381 Highway Engineering

The functions of a manhole are as follows:1. As an inspection chamber to provide access for the maintenance of the drainage system,
2. As the head of the pipe run,
3. To accommodate a change of direction of the pipe,
4. To allow for the change of gradient or elevation, and
5. To facilitate the change of pipe size and/or type.
Once the locations of the gullies have been determined, the position of the manholes and the
underground pipe can be decided. Pipe lengths are generally laid straight between manholes, and
are usually arranged to drain by gravity. The distance between manholes based on the method of
maintenance is about 100 to 150 metres. In Hong Kong the table below is used.
Diameter of pipe (mm)
Smaller than 600
Between 600 1050
Larger than 1050

Maximum intervals (m)


As the size of a stormwater drain increases downstream, it is preferable to maintain the soffits at
the same levels at the manhole. This is to prevent the drain being surcharged by the backwater
effect when the downstream pipe is flowing full.

Topic 3 Highway Drainage | Page 3-16

Higher Diploma in Civil Engineering | CON4381 Highway Engineering

Stormwater sewer pipes are generally of circular cross-section and can be made of concrete,
clayware, pitch fibre, plastic, or corrugated steel. The service conditions of a highway drain may
include external load due to earth pressures and surcharges imposed by the road itself and its
traffic, scour and wear due to the passage of suspended particles in the runoff water, and chemical
attack inside the pipe by de-icing salts and spillage in the road as well as outside the pipe by
aggressive chemicals such as acids and some sulphate present in the soil. The pipe should
therefore be either of a material which can withstand these conditions, or be protected from them.
In Hong Kong, concrete pipes are used in general and the available size is from 150 mm with a step
size of 75 mm up to 450 mm, and then with a step size of 150 mm up to 2500 mm diameter.

Type of pipe bedding

The material on which the pipe rests is known as its bed. Bedding materials in common use are
concrete (plain or reinforced), pea shingle (single sized granular aggregate of 14 mm or 20 mm
nominal size), sand, or the material previously excavated from the trench. This material may be
placed under the pipe only (bed), or may be extended up to half the pipe depth (bed and haunch),
or to completely cover the pipe (bed and surround). So that subsequent settlement of unbound
bedding and backfill materials may be avoided, it is important that these should be fully
compacted. Furthermore, the load required to produce failure of a pipe installed with bedding in
the ground is higher than that in a standard crushing test and its ratio is known as the bedding
factor. It varies with the type of bedding materials and method of construction. The designer
may therefore choose between the relative benefits of providing a strong bedding, and a weak
pipe, or vice versa.
Pipes are provided in units of between 900 mm and about 2 m depending on material and
diameter. The pipes are joined together and it is important that the joints are watertight. Some
of the different types of joints are shown below. It is possible to provide rigid joints between
pipes made of rigid materials but to do so can lead to the pipes being overstressed as a result of
ground movements after construction. Most rigid pipes are therefore provided with flexible
joints in order that a small amount of relative movement can be accommodated between one unit
and the next, and in cases where a rigid (concrete) pipe bedding is used it is important to ensure
Topic 3 Highway Drainage | Page 3-17

Higher Diploma in Civil Engineering | CON4381 Highway Engineering

Pipe joints
that the required flexibility is maintained. This is achieved by providing movement joints in the
concrete bed at intervals of about five metres, placed to coincide with pipe joints. The
movement joints consist simply of a collar in fibreboard or similar compressible material, fitted
around the pipe prior to concreting and arranged to form a complete discontinuity in the concrete.


The design of the stormwater sewer system is based on each individual section of a pipe run and is
an iterative process. A pipe run is the route in a drainage system along which the surface water is
carried from the most remote part to the outfall. In general, the slope of the pipe follows the
gradient of the road and the rate of runoff is calculated using the Rational method based on the
pipe running full. Some factors to be considered in the design of the storm sewer system:1. Construction costs increases with depth,
2. The slope of the pipe follows the general gradient of the surface to minimize cost,
3. The velocity of flow should be greater than 0.75 m/s to prevent silting up of the pipe,
4. The pipe should have sufficient cover to protect it against the loading at the surface,
5. Allowance should be made for the head loss at a manhole usually by means of having lower
invert elevation for the downstream pipe,
6. At a manhole, invert to invert connections are not favoured since they often prevent the full
capacity of the larger pipe being made available; the water cannot rise up to the soffit level
of the downstream pipe.

Topic 3 Highway Drainage | Page 3-18

Higher Diploma in Civil Engineering | CON4381 Highway Engineering

Example of a storm drainage system design

Given the network of drainage system and the following information, design the corresponding
pipesize. Rigid pipes are used.

Section No.




Length (m)

Gradient (%)

Area CA (m )

Runoff coefficient = 1.0

Frequency of storm = 1 in 5 years
Time of entry = 3 min
Minimum pipesize = 225 mm
Common nominal size of pipes used in Hong Kong

Nominal size (diameter in mm)

Concrete pipes

150, 225, 300, 375, 450, 600, 750, 900, 1050, 1200, 1350, 1500, 1650, 1800

Vitrified clay pipes

100, 150, 200, 225, 300, 375, 400, 450 ,500, 600

Stormwater Drainage Manual recommends a roughness value = 0.6 mm for precast concrete
pipes for 80 to 100 years use.
Highways Departments GN35 Guidance Notes on Road Pavement Drainage Design specifies the
typical value of kinematic viscosity of stormwater is 1 106 m2/s.
Based on parameter values of

Storm Drainage Design

Runoff Coefficient = 1.0 & Time of entry = 3 min.

Surface roughness, k s =
Kinematic viscosity, u =

Storm Frequency = 5 years & Minimum pipe size = 225 mm




Pipe size

Flow vel.







0.6 mm
0.000001 m /s













(m )


1 .1

1 40


1 .85

7 3.7 3

1 .26



1 200




1 20


1 .85

7 3.7 3

1 .08



1 000

57 .45





1 .85

7 3.7 3



207 .9


51 .97


1 .2



1 .85

7 3.7 3


1 .80


1 87 .2


1 45.59

Not O.K.

1 .2




1 57 .55


1 .50

5.7 5

1 89.8


1 47 .62



1 00


1 .85

7 3.7 3




1 97 .1


1 53.30

Not O.K.


1 00



1 57 .55


0.7 5


1 98.6


1 54.49


1 .3

1 60


2.7 3

1 93.1 6

5.7 5


6.7 3

1 81 .8



Not O.K.

1 .3

1 60

37 5

3.1 5

347 .66

5.7 5



1 82.8



Not O.K.

1 .3

1 60



561 .57

5.7 5

0.7 6


1 83.5


351 .69


Topic 3 Highway Drainage | Page 3-19

Higher Diploma in Civil Engineering | CON4381 Highway Engineering

The pipe capacity can be calculated using the Colebrook-White equation assuming full of water.
The below table shows the matrix of both (i) velocity in m/s and (ii) capacity in L/s for typical pipe
size with surface roughness = 0.6 mm and viscosity of stormwater = 1 106 m2/s. One
should otherwise directly get these pipe flow properties using the Colebrook-White equation.

Topic 3 Highway Drainage | Page 3-20

Higher Diploma in Civil Engineering | CON4381 Highway Engineering

A culvert can be defined as a conduit which conveys water through an embankment. A bridge
can also perform the same function. Usually, a bridge surface forms part of the pavement
whereas the top of the culvert is buried underneath it. Furthermore, very often, a culvert is
designed based on full bore whereas a bridge is normally designed with some headroom clearance
either for boats or for floating debris. A culvert can be flexible such as corrugated steel pipes, or
rigid made of concrete, either precast or cast-in-situ, cast iron or vitrified clay. The shape of a
culvert can be rectangular, circular, elliptical or arch. In Hong Kong, the minimum internal size of
a concrete box culvert is 2.5 m by 2.5 m to facilitate the use of mechanical plant for maintenance.








Proper location is a prime prerequisite to the efficient and economical operation of a culvert in
order to keep the culvert sediment-free. A culvert is simply an enclosed channel which serves to
carry an open stream under a highway. If it is to be an efficient substitute for the open-ditch
section it must be placed so that the water has both a direct entrance and a direct exit. Thus a
culvert should be aligned as closely to the original stream channel as possible. If the stream
meanders and/or its location in the natural channel would require an inordinately long culvert,
some stream modification may be necessary.
Ex. channel
New ditch


The slope of a culvert should normally conform as closely as possible to the natural grade of the
stream which is usually the one which produces least silting or scouring. If the slope of the
culvert is greater than the natural slope of the stream, the increased velocity may cause scouring
of the stream at the outlet to the culvert. If the slope of the culvert is flatter than that of the
stream, silting is expected to occur and the culvert will eventually be blocked. On the other hand,
the silt carrying capacity of a stream varies as the square of its velocity. It is generally considered
Topic 3 Highway Drainage | Page 3-21

Higher Diploma in Civil Engineering | CON4381 Highway Engineering

that culverts should be placed at a minimum slope of about 0.5% if significant sedimentation is to
be avoided. Culvert slopes can be used to arrest stream degradation, improve hydraulic
performance and reduce the length of the structure.

Stream location

Depressed inlet

Channel excavation
Head cut
Change gradient

Degrading channel


Topic 3 Highway Drainage | Page 3-22

Higher Diploma in Civil Engineering | CON4381 Highway Engineering

In spite of the main focus of this chapter on the road surface drainage, a brief discussion is given
here on sub-soil drainage which forms an integral part of the highway drainage provision.
Sub-soil drainage deals with the drainage of water in the pavement structure underneath the
pavement surface. Subsurface or subsoil drains are required to intercept and drain excessive
moisture or groundwater flow in order to avoid premature pavement failures. These moisture
can be of the following forms:

Water that has permeated through cracks and joints in the pavement structure to the
underlying strata.

Water that has moved upward through the underlying soil strata as a result of capillary

Water that exists in the natural ground below the water table, usually referred to as
ground water.

Topic 3 Highway Drainage | Page 3-23

Higher Diploma in Civil Engineering | CON4381 Highway Engineering


The function of a sub-soil drainage system is to collect and discharge water which may enter the
pavement structure through the surface course, surface cracks, granular shoulders or from the
subgrade. Sub-soil drainage prevents the build-up of moisture which could adversely affect the
strength and stability of the granular layers and subgrade. A sub-soil drainage system may
include sub-soil drains, open-graded drainage layer, and other pre-manufactured drainage systems
placed under a roadway to collect, remove and carry the water to the stormwater drainage system.
Subsurface drainage systems are usually classified into five general categories:

Longitudinal drains

Transverse drains

Horizontal drains

Drainage blankets

Well systems

The design of pavement is based on the certain moisture content of the soil in the field. If the
moisture content exceeds this amount, then the design conditions no longer apply and the
pavement may fail. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that water is kept out of the pavement or
that if water enters the pavement, it is removed as safely and quickly as possible. An alternative
to this approach is to construct a pavement that can withstand the traffic load with excess water
pressure in the soil. This would be very expensive and as it is difficult to predict the stresses
developed in a pavement when water is present, the pavement so constructed may not be
adequate when subject to continuous traffic loads.
A Drainage layer (blanket) is a layer of highly permeable granular material which is placed beneath
the pavement structure where a road is constructed over spring or groundwater discharge area.
The blanket drain is sloped towards a ditch or subdrains installed at the edge of the road to
provide a positive outlet. Clear stone is used in this application. Most drainage blankets should
be sandwiched between geotextile to prevent (i) subgrade fines from moving upwards into the
blanket and (ii) subbase fines from moving downwards into the blanket. A herring bone or grid
pattern of subdrains achieves the same objective although the blanket drain provides more
uniform coverage and drainage capability.
A parallel drain system consists of perforated or slotted pipes surrounded by aggregate placed in a
grid or herringbone pattern on the slope face. Alternatively, open-channels are used instead.
This is used to carry the water from the surface of the slope to prevent surface erosion.
Horizontal drains are gravity draining perforated or slotted pipes wrapped in geotextile installed
into the face of a slope in order to lower the ground water table or to drain water from bearing
layers. The drains extend into the slope in a horizontal direction and can achieve significantly
greater lowering of the groundwater table when comparing with the other methods. They are
generally not successful in clay soils because of the low soil permeability. Where significant flow
from the drain is anticipated, soil which is exposed at the outlet of the drain should be protected
against erosion.
Topic 3 Highway Drainage | Page 3-24

Higher Diploma in Civil Engineering | CON4381 Highway Engineering


Essential text
1. Highways Department, Government of HKSAR. (2010). Guidance Notes on Road Pavement
Drainage Design RD/GN035 May 2010. Available from (last access on 7 August 2014)

Reference texts
2. Drainage Services Department, Government of HKSAR. (2013). Stormwater Drainage
Manual with Eurocodes, 4th Ed, May 2013. Available from (last access on 15 August 2014)
3. Bransby Williams, G. (1922). Flood Discharge and the Dimensions of Spillways in India.
The Engineer, Vol. 121, September 1922, London, pp. 321-322.
4. Ginn, W.L., Lee, T.C., Chan, K.Y. (2010). Past and future changes in the climate of Hong Kong.
Acta Meteorological Sinica, Chinese Meteorological Society, 24(2), pp 163-175.
5. Lam, C.C., Leung, Y.K. (1994). Extreme Rainfall Statistics and Design Rainstorm Profiles at
Selected Locations in Hong Kong (Technical Note No. 86). Royal Observatory, Hong Kong, 89 p.
6. Tang, C.S.C., Cheung, S.P.Y. (2011). Frequency Analysis of Extreme Rainfall Values (GEO
Report No. 261). Geotechnical Engineering Office, 212p.
7. Wong, M.C., Mok, H.Y. (2009). Trends in Hong Kong Climate Parameters Relevant to
Engineering Design. The Hong Kong Institution of Engineers Civil Engineering Conference
2009 (in CD-ROM).

Topic 3 Highway Drainage | Page 3-25