Chapter 9: Drainage Structures and Common Ditches

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Section 1: Overview

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Policy and Practice

When a drainage channel or some type of drainage structure on railroad right-of-way is needed, an agreement obtaining permission and concurrence from the railroad to perform such work is required. This includes grading, cleaning, and reshaping of common ditches and culverts between highway and railroad right-of-way.

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Drainage Structures Under or Near Railroad

Railroad companies require that concrete box culverts or drainage pipes installed under the tracks be class V and E-80 loading. Also, the Union Pacific Railroad requires that TxDOT complete their Application for Encased Non-flammable Pipeline Crossing form and include it (along with a cover application form) as part of the agreement. The district completes the forms and submits them to the Traffic Operations Division (TRF) when requesting preparation and execution of the agreement. (Samples of the forms are provided in Appendix A of the hard copy print version of this volume. These sample forms may be photocopied as necessary. Copies may also be obtained from the Traffic Operations Division.)

When box culverts are installed under the tracks, the railroads require that hydraulic design calculations be submitted for their approval. The district develops these calculations and submits them to the Design Division (DES). DES then forwards them to TRF to be included as part of the agreement.

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Common Ditch and Joint Drainage

Railroads typically require plan profiles and cross sections of common ditch projects. Plan profiles should be included with the plan layout (Exhibit A).

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Preliminary Engineering and Coordination

Preliminary engineering and coordination with any local governmental entity, adjacent landowners, and the railroad is normally the responsibility of the district.

Drainage outfall into common ditch facilities or under railroad tracks should be designed to prevent any possible undermining of railroad facilities in the event of flooding.

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