Jenny O'Quinn 804-225-4984, 804-357-6017
Tamara Rollison 804-786-2715


Sept. 30, 2015

VDOT, property owners share responsibility in avoiding flooded roadways

RICHMOND - Autumn is hurricane season and when you add fallen leaves to the mix, new challenges arise in maintaining good drainage for Virginia’s roads.

As the Commonwealth prepares for the onset of a potentially substantial rain event over the next few days, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) reminds property owners the importance of maintaining good drainage practices.

Making sure that water properly drains off roadways creates safer driving conditions, and also prevents damage to the pavement that can lead to expensive repairs.

Each season brings different drainage concerns. In autumn, problems occur when fallen leaves drift into ditches and culverts and clog drainpipes. When heavy or prolonged rain occurs in areas where drainage is blocked or partially blocked, those problems become much worse. Steps must be taken to keep drainage pathways clear – directing water-flow away from the pavement increases safety, and prevents premature deterioration of roadways.

Both VDOT and private property owners have important roles in ensuring good drainage.

VDOT is tasked with keeping all ditches, culverts, drains and other drainage systems located on state-owned right of way maintained and clear of debris. This includes regular inspections to ensure these drainage systems are working properly so road flooding does not occur.

VDOT also responds to flooding or standing water, but only when it affects a state-maintained road or state-owned right of way. VDOT is not responsible for installing or maintaining drainage facilities on privately owned land.

Property owners also play a crucial role in drainage. They are responsible for maintaining and repairing, and/or replacing any ditches, drainpipes or other drainage systems on their property when they are not part of a VDOT-owned, county or city right of way.

Property owners must also keep stormwater flowing freely through their land. Grass clippings, leaves and other debris must be gathered to avoid accumulation, which can lead to clogged and overflowing ditches, drains and drainpipes. This will help avoid safety hazards caused by pooling water on roadways, and keep water damage to the pavement at a minimum. Raking and bagging leaves also prevents them from blowing and drifting onto adjoining or nearby properties, causing clogged pipes and ditches for neighbors.

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



Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.

Page last modified: Sept. 30, 2015