Leading the Way: RESPEC’s Expertise in Updating Alaska’s Highway Drainage Manual

Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities

RESPEC was awarded a contract in 2021 by the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) to update the long overdue Alaska Highway Drainage Manual. This statewide project spans more than a 3-year period and is divided into three task orders. The first task order focused on contract administration and project startup, including conducting a literature review, prioritizing chapter revisions, summarizing relevant laws and regulations, and conducting interviews with regional staff. Preliminary chapter revisions, outlines, and drafts were also developed. 

For the second task order, RESPEC prepared revisions to the 24 Drainage Manual chapters, incorporating Alaska-specific design guidance, data resources, regional practices, and hydraulic modeling, using the current status of the pending rewrite of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials Highway Drainage Manual. Drafts of critical manual sections were prepared first and extensively reviewed with DOT&PF Hydraulics staff. The less critical chapters were prepared later and provided to DOT&PF for subsequent review and comment. 

In the third task order, final drafts of all the revised chapters will be prepared, and RESPEC will coordinate website design, updates, and web links. An outreach webinar for Alaska professionals will also be conducted. RESPEC will also assist the DOT&PF in further developing its plan of action for scour critical bridges. With this project, RESPEC can make a significant contribution to the safety and efficiency of Alaska’s transportation infrastructure while also providing valuable guidance and resources to DOT&PF staff and Alaska professionals.