Road drainage solutions

By April 13, 2020 No Comments
Storm water drain on concrete

Living in the Pacific Northwest, we get our fair share of rain. However, you might be surprised to learn that annually, we’re in the middle of the pack nationally when it comes to the wet stuff. Our rainfall is slow, steady, and consistent, which just makes it seem like we’re wet nine months out of the year. Having the correct road drainage solutions is the first step to a safe roadway.

In fact, it’s the Southeastern states that get most of the precipitation in a year thanks to summer weather that brings thunderstorms, cyclones, and hurricanes. Where we get most of our rain in the Spring or late Autumn, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, and other states are usually hit hardest in the summer.

No matter where you live, however, driving during a rainstorm can be a scary proposition. If city streets, freeways, and highways haven’t been properly installed, standing water can cause problems by splashing up into the engine cavity. Driving too fast through standing water could lead to hydro-planing – when the tires are no longer in contact with the road.

Driving along at 60 miles per hour and suddenly losing control of the car is a stressful situation. These problems aren’t just limited to wet climates, either. In the driest states, Utah, Nevada, or Arizona for example, there is no natural drainage because the ground can’t absorb much of the rainfall. There’s always a danger of flash floods.

The Importance of Proper Road Construction

As you speed down the highway or drive around town, you’ve probably seen a slight crown on the road surface. This forces the water to either side of the road, where storm water drainage systems are ready and waiting. Without those gentle slopes, the rain will just pool on the road and cause problems.

In freezing weather, that water will seep into small cracks and freeze, creating larger cracks. In a few years, huge potholes will appear, creating different problems altogether. If left untreated for several years, those asphalt streets may end up looking like gravel roads.

Drainage Solutions, Maintenance, and Repair

A Custom Concrete Catch Basin Manufactured by Columbia Precast ProductsThere are a few different ways federal, state, and local municipalities can keep their byways relatively clear of standing water. Catch basins are topped with a grate level with the road to allow water in and keep most debris out. That water then leaves through an outlet pipe to other basins or treatment centers.

A great deal of engineering goes into planning this infrastructure. For new catch basins, historical data is viewed to see how big the basin needs to be or how often they need to be placed.


Trees are a huge reason why the Pacific Northwest is such a beautiful place to live all year long. However, big leafy maples can wreak havoc on road drainage systems. While those large leaves may not fall through the grate, they do cover the opening so rain doesn’t drain as quickly.

In drier climates, debris picked up in a flash flood can bring drainage to complete stop. To alleviate the problem, maintenance crews will come along, remove the blockages, and the water can flow freely again. Although some catch basins are made to separate the water from debris, they still need to be cleaned out occasionally.


Progress waits for no man, especially when it comes to real estate development. Road drainage systems in place for two decades may not be able to handle an influx of buildings, parking lots, or other surfaces that remove natural drainage. Existing concrete catch basins need to be expanded or even removed for larger solutions.

This comes back to the engineering portion of community building. With enough foresight, catch basins can be created with the purpose of expansion later. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use precast catch basins that are designed for expansion down the road.

Create Drainage Solutions With The Pros

Backed by more than 130 years of experience, Columbia Precast Products has the experience to create catch basins, manholes, railroad crossings, and other buried infrastructure specifically for public and private uses. Working closely with both the Washington and Oregon state transportation departments, rest assured your project will meet all codes and requirements.

Why precast concrete? It’s ready when you are, last longer than other materials, and is strong enough to handle constant abuse from above. Have a need for fast drainage solutions in the Pacific Northwest? Contact Columbia Precast Products today.