Understanding water flow in roads is important from a road engineering perspective as well as an environmental point of view. The moisture content of the unbound materials greatly influences the resilience of the road structure, and water acts as the prime transporter of pollutants from the road surface to the environment. This field study was conducted in order to determine where water infiltrated into the road, and to observe the long and short term dynamics of water distribution within the road. Twenty eight time-domain reflectometry (TDR) sensors were installed in a cross-section of the Rv 40 Swedish highway which enabled hourly point measurements of water content and electrical conductivity during two years with a relatively high spatial resolution. The measurements showed that most of the water entered the road body through the unbound material next to the asphalt edge, and percolated downwards until it reached the geotextile between the subgrade and the subbase, where it was diverted sideways towards the ditch. When reaching the edge of the geotextile, the water continued to percolate downwards into the soil. The time from the first registered increase in water content near the surface to detection on top of the geotextile was a few hours, and to the subgrade about two days. The ditch played a minor role in regulating water content of the studied road, and acted as a source rather than a sink during the wetter parts of the year. The geotextile was not intended to influence the movement of water in any way, but in this case it clearly did so.
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