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Property owners’ cooperation crucial to avoid stormwater from flooding roadways

The onset of seasonal summer storms offers a vital reminder of how essential drainage is for Virginia’s roads.  “Motorist safety is the number-one priority of VDOT,” said Charlie Kilpatrick, commissioner of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) in a press release. “Ensuring water drains off our roadways helps protect motorists and saves on maintenance costs.”

VDOT works to prevent road flooding by keeping state-owned drainage systems maintained and clear of debris. This includes regular inspections to ensure these drainage systems are working properly.

Every resident also has an important hand in helping to maintain good road drainage.

Property owners are responsible for the maintenance of drainage facilities, such as ditches and channels, on their property when the facilities are not part of a VDOT-owned drainage easement or a county or city easement.

Property owners are responsible for keeping stormwater free-flowing through their land, by keeping grass clippings, leaves and other debris from accumulating. This will help to avoid water from ponding on the road, which could cause a major safety hazard and pavement damage.

Drainage mechanisms are designed and built into pavement structures to reduce frequent maintenance and prevent premature deterioration. Keeping water flowing away from a road’s surface avoids the need for repeated patching, repaving and other rehabilitation.

VDOT regularly maintains state-owned drainage facilities on roadways by:
Removing buildup and debris from ditches and gutters
Cleaning inlets, catch basins, storm sewer pipes and culverts
Replacing damaged storm sewer pipes and culverts
Inspecting stormwater management facilities annually and fixing any problems.

What can you, the property owner, do beyond keeping your gutters and drainage ditches clear of debris that blocks the free flow of stormwater?
Prevent the drainage of pollutants – such as pet waste and fertilizers – into the drainage system
Do not obstruct the flow of stormwater to the detriment of another property owner

VDOT responds to flooding or standing water only when it affects a state-maintained roadway or state-owned right of way. VDOT does not maintain or install drainage facilities on private property.

Landowners are responsible for repairing or replacing drainage structures on private property. Property owners must make the repair or replacement in a timely manner.

More detailed information about “Drainage on Virginia Roadways” is available at’s_roads.asp .

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