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6-8 Design of Underdrain

Underdrain is categorized under Item 501 of DPWH

Standard Specifications, which provides that:

This item shall consist of constructing underdrain, using

pipes and granular filter material underdrain pipe outlets and blind
drains using granular material in accordance with the
specifications and in reasonably close conformity with the lines and
grades shown on the plans or as established by the engineer.

1. The pipe is used to carry away collected water. The size and number of pipes and its locations
of opening should be studied carefully to prevent excessive entrance velocity that will silting
to the pipe.
2. Filter materials with which the trench is backfilled or the opening in the filter, should be fine
enough so that the adjacent soil will not be washed-out into the drain.
3. The top of underdrain should be sealed with impervious soil to prevent the entrance of
surface water.
4. Intercepting drains must extend into the impervious zone.
5. The pipes are laid with the flow line at least 1.20 meters below the finished grade and carefully
bedded with gravel or filter materials.


Materials should conform with the requirements specified as follows:

1. Zinc coated (galvanized) corrugated iron or steel for culverts and underdrain (AASHTO M-36).
2. Extra strength and standard strength clay pipe and perforated clay pipe (AASHTO M-165).
3. Porous concrete (AASHTO M-176).
4. Perforated concrete (AASHTO M-175).
5. Bituminous fiber non-pressure sewer drain and under drainage pipe system (AASHTO M-177).
6. Asbestos cement perforated underdrain pipes (AASHTO M-189).

Granular Backfill Filter Materials

Granular backfill filter materials shall be permeable meeting the requirements of AASHTO M-6
specifications except that soundness tests will not be required and minor variations in grading and content
of deleterious substances may be approved by the engineer. All materials are subject to inspection before

Construction Requirements

1. Pipe installation. Trenches are excavated to the dimensions and grades required by the plan.
A minimum of 15cm. bedding layer of granular backfill materials are placed and compacted
at the bottom of the trench. Sub-drainage pipe are embedded firmly on the bedding.
2. Perforated pipes are placed with the perforations downward securely joined with the
appropriate fittings or bands.
3. Non-perforated pipes are laid with the bell end upgrade with open joints wrapped with the
suitable material to permit entry of water, or unwrapped as may be specified.

4. Upgrade end sections of all sub-drainage pipe installations are closed with suitable plugs to
prevent entry of soil materials.
5. After the pipe installation, granular backfill materials are placed 30 centimeters above the top
of the pipe and should not be displaced by the covering of open joints.
6. The remainder of granular backfill are placed and compacted at every after 15 cm. layers up
to the required height. Any remaining portion of the trench above the granular backfill shall
be filled with either granular or impervious material and thoroughly compacted.

Underdrain Outlet

Trench for underdrain outlets are excavated to the depth and width as planned. Pipes are laid in
the trench with all ends firmly joined and backfilled after inspection and approval of the pipe installation.

Blind Drain

Trenches for blind drains are excavated to the width and depth
as shown on plans. The trench is then filled with granular backfill material
to be required depth. Any remaining upper portions of the trench should
be filled with either granular or impervious material in accordance with
the requirements for excavations.

6-9 Debris Control

Flood waters usually carries objectionable objects like brushes, banana trunks, tree branches etc.
These floating debris clogs culvert entrances and raise the headwater elevation overflowing the road and
damaging adjoining properties. Culverts should be designed to allow debris to pass a single large span box
culvert is preferred on streams carrying large floating objects than the multi-span culvert with same area

Another alternative is to extend the curtain wall separating the

barrels of the multi span culverts upstream, with its top slanting
downward so that in time of flood, debris carried by flood water will
ride up on this wall or turn to pass easily through the opening.

Another method proven effective is to install up stream debris

racks or wire, steel rail or piling. Some design provides trap for the
sand or gravel carried by the stream rather than having it pass through the structure. However, design of
debris control devices depends upon the kind debris to be handled, the volume of floodwater and the site

6-10 The Legal Aspect of Drainage

Highway agency is legally responsible for any damage to private property affected by the changes
it makes in natural drainage pattern within the limit that water must flow.

Damage claim against the Department could be established if:

1. When as a result of the agencys project, the flow of several streams or creeks were
concentrated into a single channel that resulted to erosion, silting or flooding of private

2. When due to poor design or inadequate maintenance, water backed against highway or
embankment resulted to inundation of land or property or caused injury or death.
3. Liability however, is limited to damages in direct consequences of the improvement. The
agency would not be liable for damages if an unprecedented storm causes the stream to
overflow a newly constructed channel, provided that this channel has the capacity equal to
the natural volume of water flow.
4. Engineering decisions if based ion an accepted practice, do not provide for a course action. In
any case, the responsibility of highway agency would be determined through negotiations or
court litigations. Therefore, design of drainage system must satisfy the various requirements
of the environmental laws and regulations.

6 11 Roadway Design and Construction for Unusual Soil Conditions

Problems usually encountered in the design and constructions of roadways are:

1. The stability of fill sand slope

2. The drainage
3. Capillarity and frost heave
4. Permafrost
5. Elasticity and rutting

Stability of Fills and Slope

There are instances where the materials in cut bank slips down the roadway, or sometimes, a
portion of high fill slides outward carrying portion of the roadway. This
pattern of failure is common in fills or cut slope of homogenous non-
granular materials.

1. Slides may happen during construction or at later date after

the road is in service. It is advisable to risk some sliding or
adjustments of large slope than to flatten increasing pay
2. If possible during the location surveys, areas that are
threatened by frequent slide should be avoided. Minor slope adjustment, slides, and ledge
falls that occur during construction should be removed to widen fill or to flatten the slope.
3. Slides may be caused either by mudflows, slope adjustment, or movement due to
underground water or undercut rock strata. Slides happened when an underlying inclined
surface shale, soapstone, or the like is lubricated by seepage water.
4. Slides maybe controlled by removing large portion of the materials above the slippage
surface, or by some drainage devices that keeps water off the surface of weakness.
5. Water must always be intercepted before it lubricates the critical slip surface.


Capillarity is the tendency of water to seek its own level as if an open channel flows through the
pores and fine channels of the soil. It is the force pulling free water through the voids of the soil in all

Capillary action is most common in permeable materials such as dirty gravel and soils composed
mainly of fine sand, silts or clayey silts. Capillary flow however, is less common in impermeable materials
like clay and colloidal soils.

1. In roadway construction, moisture has to be controlled. Over saturation of the soil in road
structure reduces its strength and the differential expansion of the soil due to uncontrolled
moisture may lead to serious problems.
2. Moisture in the roadway is brought about by the changes in weather, seasons or by capillary
action of the water.
3. Water movement due to capillarity action take place in any directions, and an upward
movement may create desirable conditions. If the surface of the soil is open, evaporation of
moisture is faster and no damage may result, but, if the surface is covered with pavement or
other impervious blanket, capillary water may accumulate and saturate the subsurface layers
that usually resulted to pavement failure.
4. Consistency of soil varies from semi solid to plastic liquid if moisture content is increased. The
behaviour of the material used is directly correlated with changes and percentages of
moisture content.
5. Voids in soil are of the same order of magnitude as the particle size. Thus, the height of
capillary rise would be greater in fine grain soils than in coarse grain soils. Likewise,
temperature plays an important role in the capillary rise of water in soils. The height of rise is
greater in low temperature than in high temperature.


Approximate Capillary Heights

Soil Type
Centimeters Feet
2 to 10 0.1 to 0.4
Small Gravel
15 0.5
Coarse Sand
30 to 100 1 to 3
Fine Sand
100 to 1000 3 to 30
Silt Clay
1000 to 3000 30 to 90



Compressive Stress
Soil Type pcf
kg./cu. cm. kN/sq.m
Silt 200 to 2000 0.1 to 1.0 10 to 100
Clay 2000 to 6000 1.0 to 3.0 100 to 300

Elasticity and Rutting

Elasticity is common in soils whose fine consist mainly of flat and flaky particles. This kind
of soil is rubberized characteristics that rebound under heavy loads.

1. Highly plastic soils should not be placed closer to the roadway surface where heavy
loads are expected. Early cracking of the pavement may happen due to deformations
caused by the rebound of the soil.
2. When heavy loads passes on a plane soils, compression and rebound occurs to at least
6 meters below the surface. 80% of the load is concentrated 90 cm. from the top of
the surface. The design therefore, is to sum up the total expected load and rebound
in the pavement to be sure that it does not produce fatigue and failure in the
3. Deflection of the pavement surface as the wheel slowly rolls past the reference point
is measured by a measuring device called Bankelman Beam. A long slender bar slips
into the space between the dual tires of the track wheels. Deflection rate of travel
shock wave is recorded.