The history of the drainage folder extends back to the 1950's. Drainage folders have been required on all projects involving bridges, culverts, storm sewers, ditches, or any other water carrying system. The burnt orange cover has been a standard feature associated with drainage folders for decades. The contents of the folder originally included plan sheets, profiles, cross sections, maps, summary sheets, correspondence, and computer printouts. Since many of these documents were larger than 8½ x 11, the requirements for the physical preparation of this hardcopy folder were specific and time consuming.
In 2006, the Drainage Branch, led by David Moses, changed the delivery of the drainage folder from a hard copy format to a PDF format. This change saved the hydraulic engineer many hours of preparation because of the tedious time it took to print the sheets, fold them when necessary (plan sheets, profiles, cross sections, etc...), and organize them by hand into a physical hardcopy folder. The introduction of an electronic folder meant this process would only be performed on the computer and could result in hours of saved preparation time. Unfortunately, the electronic file often became so large that it slowed down the reviewer because of the memory required to view the PDF. It also took significant time to prepare, although not as much when compared to the original hardcopy version.
Over the last few years, the Drainage Branch has discussed reducing the size of the Drainage Folder. It introduced the concept at the 2017 Partnering conference an named it Drainage Folder Lite. That version of the concept has been actually used on many Drainage Folders submitted to the Drainage Branch since the Partnering Conference. It has received a favorable reaction from both consultants and reviewers. The Drainage Branch has simplified the format even more since the Partnering Conference. The end result impacts the Preliminary Drainage Folder the most, but also the Final Drainage Folder is reduced significantly. The Advanced Situation Folder is unaffected by this action since it is a document defined by the Division of Structural Design.