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An Introduction to the Principles of Pavement Drainage

COURSE NO: C02-048
An Introduction to the Principles of Pavement Drainage
Course Highlights

This online engineering PDH course provides an introduction to the terminology, fundamentals and methodologies for the design of drainage features in pavements.


Water has a detrimental effect on pavement performance, primarily by either weakening subsurface materials or erosion of material by free water movement.  For flexible pavements, the weakening of the base, subbase or subgrade when saturated with water is one of the main causes of pavement failures.  In rigid pavement, free water trapped between the rigid concrete surface and an impermeable layer directly beneath the concrete, moves due to pressure caused by loadings.


This movement of water (referred to as pumping) erodes the subsurface material creating voids under the concrete surface.  In frost areas, subsurface water will contribute to frost damage by heaving during freezing and loss of subgrade support during thawing. Poor subsurface drainage can also contribute to secondary damage such as 'D' cracking or swelling of subsurface materials.


This 2 PDH online course is intended for civil engineers and other design and construction professionals wanting an introduction to the principles of pavement drainage.


Learning Objectives

This PE continuing education course is intended to provide you with the following specific knowledge and skills:

  • Learning about the effects of subsurface water
  • Learning about the effects of infiltration and subterranean water
  • Understanding how subdrainage facilities can be categorized into two functional categories, one to control infiltration, and one to control groundwater
  • Understanding how flow of water through soils is expressed by Darcy's empirical law
  • Understanding how the value of permeability depends on the characteristics of the permeable materials and the properties of the fluid
  • Understanding how permeability is a function of a complex relationship with grain size
  • Learning about the void ratio or porosity of soils, and its influence on permeability
  • Learning why the type and condition of the pavement surface will have considerable influence on the volume of water entering the pavement structure
  • Learning about pavement drainage in frost susceptible soils
Course Document
In this professional engineering CEU course, you need to review the course document titled, "An Introduction to the Principles of Pavement Drainage".
To view, print and study the course document, please click on the following link(s):
An Introduction to the Principles of Pavement Drainage (236 KB)
Course Quiz
Once you complete your course review, you need to take a multiple-choice quiz consisting of fifteen (15) questions to earn 2 PDH credits. The quiz will be based on the entire document.
The minimum passing score is 70%. There is no time limit on the quiz, and you can take it multiple times until you pass at no additional cost.
Certificate of Completion

Upon successful completion of the quiz, print your Certificate of Completion instantly. (Note: if you are paying by check or money order, you will be able to print it after we receive your payment.) For your convenience, we will also email it to you. Please note that you can log in to your account at any time to access and print your Certificate of Completion.

To buy the course and take the quiz, please click on: