Culvert bridges are a type of manmade structure that allows transportation over a sizable body of water or physical obstruction. They differ from bridges in terms of their design, construction, and load-carrying capacity.
A culvert bridge consists of concrete boxes or cells, a slab or top deck, and pipes. However, bridges also have other components, such as support walls and piers.
Typically, culverts are shorter and have less span length than bridges. This makes them simpler in their design and structure.
The simplest component of a culvert is the pipes or boxes that go down to the stream level. This is why culverts don’t require deep foundations like bridges do.
Pipes and boxes are buried in soil that supports a large portion of their load, which is referred to as SOIL-STRUCTURE INTERACTION.
Therefore, culverts should be designed to withstand traffic loads in accordance with the codes used worldwide.
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Load and Resistance Factor Design specifications provide a framework for calculating culvert loadings.
In addition to the AASHTO LRFD, a number of additional codes and standards are also applicable to culverts.
When considering the best solution for a particular situation, it is essential to consult with a professional engineer trained in hydraulics and hydrology. These engineers can evaluate a site’s potential for flooding and determine the appropriate size of the crossing.
In addition to providing a safe and effective route for travel, bridges and culverts are essential infrastructure that can reduce flood risks and improve water quality. They can also assist in floodplain management and public safety.