Across a large part of the UK highways network the carriageway and pavement foundations are drained by Highway Filter Drains (HFDs). A HFD is a linear trench constructed either at the pavement edge or central reserve, fitted with a porous carrier pipe at the base and backfilled with an initially highly porous aggregate material. This arrangement enables the swift removal of surface runoff and subsurface water from the pavement system minimising road user hazards and eliminating risk of structural damage to the pavement sub-base. The highly porous backfill filters throughout its operational life fines washed from the pavement wearing course or adjacent land. HFDs have been found to be prone to collecting near the basal sections (pipe) or surface layers contaminants or detritus that causes the filter media to gradually block. The process has been defined as HFD clogging and it has been found to lead to reduced drainage capacity and potentially severe drop of serviceability.
O&M contractual agreements for DBFO projects usually propose in-service and handback requirements for all assets included in the concession portfolio. Different performance thresholds are thus prescribed for pavements, structures, ancillary assets or street lighting. Similar definitions can be retrieved for drainage assets in such agreements, and these include HFDs. Performance metrics are defined though in a generic language and residual life (a key indicator for major assets that usually drives long-term maintenance planning) is prescribed without indicative means to evaluate such a parameter.
Most of pavement maintenance is carried out nowadays using proactive management thinking and engineered assessment of benefits and costs of alternative strategies (what-if scenarios). Such a proactive regime is founded upon data driven processes and asset specific ageing / renewal understanding. Within the spectrum of road management, maintenance Life Cycle Costs are usually generated and updated on an annual basis using inventory and condition data linked to a Decision Support Tool (DST). This enables the assessment and optimisation of investment requirements and projection of deterioration and of treatment impacts aligned to continuous monitoring of asset performance. Following this paradigm shift in infrastructure management, a similar structured methodology to optimise HFD maintenance planning is desired and is introduced in this thesis.
The work presented enables the identification of proactive maintenance drivers and potential routes in applying a systemised HFD appraisal and monitoring system. An evaluation of Asset Management prerequisites is thus discussed linked to an overview of strategic requirements to establish such a proactive approach. The thesis identifies condition assessment protocols and focuses on developing the means to evaluate deteriorated characteristics of in service drains using destructive and non-destructive techniques.
A probabilistic HFD ageing / renewal model is also proposed using Markov chains. This builds upon existing deterioration understanding and links back to current treatment options and impacts. A filter drain decision support toolkit is lastly developed to support maintenance planning and strategy generation.
A doctoral Thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the degree Doctor of Engineering (Eng.D.) at Loughborough University