New Civil Engineer

The highways industry is facing a critical knowledge gap regarding the installation and maintenance of drainage infrastructure according to a leading water management firm.

ACO Water Management has surveyed 100 infrastructure and highways engineers and compiled the responses in its new report Highways Drainage: The Route to Surface Water Management, which is also a guide to correct highways drainage solutions.

Among the standout findings are:

  • More than half (55%) have worked on a project where maintenance of drainage is not considered
  • Almost all (99%) have faced barriers to implement sustainable drainage system (SuDS) schemes
  • More than half (53%) said that wildlife mitigation is an afterthought during the planning phase
  • Two thirds (67%) were confident that a clear maintenance strategy is put in place after installation of drainage systems, but less than a quarter (22%) were ‘very confident’
  • Only 56% said they fully understand the specification requirements for highways works in relation to linear drainage channel and combined kerb drainage load classification

This shows that more education and collaboration is required across the highways industry, according to ACO.

This is becoming even more pressing as climate change increases the erraticism of our weather and drainage systems become more important than ever for ensuring resilience of roads and infrastructure.

The report highlights that industry standards and environmental impacts will need to be addressed throughout highways projects and concludes that it is the responsibility of highways engineers to carefully consider the solutions available and ensure these are designed to perform both effectively and sustainably.

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