What Is a Culvert in Construction?

February 29, 2024

Culverts are used to allow water, fluids or materials to pass under roadways, railways and other infrastructure. They help to prevent flooding, erosion and damage to the road surface. Culverts can be constructed from a variety of materials including concrete, steel and plastic. They are designed to ensure that they can withstand the expected water flow and terrain conditions of the site.

The culvert’s design and construction consider factors like groundwater levels, terrain conditions and environmental considerations. It is important to consider these factors when designing a culvert because they can influence the structure’s durability and lifespan. For example, sandy or loose soils may require additional support or specific culvert types to avoid clogging and flow restriction issues. Fish-friendly designs are also popular for maintaining natural waterways and habitats.

Engineers also take into account the construction costs of different culvert materials when determining the best type for a project. In addition, they ensure that culverts are safe and accessible for maintenance and inspection. They also design them to meet any local or state regulations and guidelines for proper function.

The most common culverts are pipe culverts which consist of one or more round tunnels that range in size from 3 feet to over 19 feet. They are a cost-effective solution for small to medium-sized projects and are usually made from concrete or steel. These structures can be complemented with wing walls which guide the water into the culvert’s inlet and away from surrounding structures. They can also be lined with riprap to dissipate energy and slow down the flow of water entering and exiting the culvert.


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