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Good highway drainage has been recognized for many centuries. The theoretical concepts are simple and the technology applicable to highways built today (1999) is widely available in the technical literature. It is widely understood that efficient drainage is essential to good highway performance independent of aggregate compacted density or aggregate stability. While the theoretical concepts are simple they are often not effective in cold climates. Indeed, for cold climates, these simple concepts are shown by field excavations described herein to be lacking in a number of aspects. Based on field excavations and performance of some selected Ontario highway locations, involving both clay and sand subgrades, recommendations are presented for the design detailing, selection and installation of geosynthetic edge drains. Installation at the investigated sites was by various techniques that included: ploughed-in-place, trench excavation, and mechanical trencher and boot. All excavated edge drains were installed as retrofits either at the time of the original pavement construction or several years later. The retrofits used the existing excavated/displaced shoulder granular material as backfill. Frost action, despite what was considered good drainage practice at the time of installation, is shown to have had a major effect on field performance.
highway, edge drain, retrofitted, geotextile filter, geocomposite, drainage
Professor Emeritus, Queen's University, Kingston, ON
Professor, Royal Military College of Canada, Kingston, ON