This is the second article of the critical functions of road maintenance. In a previous article, we talked about the first critical function of road maintenance – surface maintenance and the reasons why regular road surface maintenance is important.
In this post, we will be discussing about the second critical function of road maintenance – drainage maintenance.
What is Drainage Maintenance?
Water on or under the roads is the single most significant cause of damage to roads. Problems related to water include cracking, potholes, erosion, washouts, flooding, and premature failure of the roadway. To prevent these problems, regular road drainage maintenance is vital.
Drainage maintenance is the maintenance of drainage system by keeping ditch, culvert and other drainage structure, clean and ready to carry next flow water as well as removing sediments deposited during period of heavy flow. This help to ensure the roadway achieves its designed service life.
Why Road Drainage Maintenance is Vital in Maintaining Nigerian Roads
On a lot of Nigerian roads across the country having inadequate drainage systems, deterioration often begins with the origin of cracks or pot holes on the road pavements either at the edges or along the drive way which differs by their shapes, configuration, amplitude of loading, movement of traffic and rate of deformation.
Below are key reasons why road drainage maintenance is important in maintaining Nigerian roads.
To Provide Traffic Safety
The first reason for regular road drainage maintenance is to provide traffic safety. Because poor drainage is not only the origin of pot holes, it is also a traffic safety risk. And regular implementation of drainage maintenance will help to reduce wet surface that can cause road surface damages.
To Prevent Erosion
The next reason for regular road drainage maintenance is to prevent erosion. Uncontrolled water that flows on the road can cause erosion. But with regular drainage maintenance, it can help reduce erosion.
To Prevent Permanent Road Deformation
Poor drainage and moisture is a main contributor to permanent deformation on roads. Preventing permanent road deformation is another key reason why regular drainage maintenance is vital. This is because, prevention of permanent road deformation helps reduce undesirable rutting on low volume roads.
To Increase Pavement Life Time and Reduce Pavement Management Costs
The most important factor triggering the need for paving is poor quality drainage. Improving the drainage condition increases the pavement lifetime. And regular drainage maintenance and rehabilitation can lead to major savings in the annual maintenance costs for paved road networks.
There is a saying that the three most important elements in road maintenance are drainage, drainage, and drainage.
Drainage is often described as the central and most important aspect of design, construction and maintenance of any road, including unsealed roads.
Improper maintenance of the drainage system can lead to blocked drainage and can cause the pavement layers to be submerged with excess water leading to loss of shear strength and rapid pavement failure. When these happens, it can result in reduced traffic safety, increased driver health issues, lowered bearing capacities, and higher costs for road owners and users.
But with a regular road drainage maintenance, it will help to provide traffic safety, prevent erosion, increase pavement lifetime and reduce permanent road deformation.