Typical Culverts

A culvert is an underground structure that facilitates the flow of water. There are two types of culverts: outlet control and inlet control. Outlet control occurs when water flows faster into a culvert than it can flow out. The barrel roughness and tailwater depth at the outlet determine the culvert’s flow rate. Conditions downstream of the culvert may reduce flow rates, or the culvert could become backlogged, causing a roadway to overtop.

Typical culverts

Typical culverts are smaller scale bridges that allow small waterways to pass under them. While culverts are much smaller than roadway bridges, the engineering effort that goes into their design is the same as that of larger structures. This course discusses the engineering processes for typical culverts. The focus will be on design standards as determined by NJDOT. Typical culverts are available in many materials.

Typical culverts come with a detailed table of specifications. The table shows span and maximum fill, as well as top and bottom slab thicknesses and rebar size and spacing. Typical culverts are constructed using steel beams with two end plates. The top flange of the beam is in contact with the slab at mid-span. The sidewalls are also shown in the table.

The most common culverts are circular, but there are other shapes, such as arch-shaped culverts. They are typically 12-15 inches in diameter. Culverts built under roads must be larger than the average diameter. In the future, factors like storm size and soil erosion may overwhelm small culverts. Ultimately, the design and installation of a culvert is based on what is best for the project.

Open bottom corrugated steel pipe is one option for a culvert solution. Like structural plate CSP, open bottom corrugated steel pipe can be used. However, it is important to note that these pipes require a foundation below the level of the stream bed. Moreover, rock riprap should be a priority. A culvert is only as good as its inlet control. So, you can check the efficiency of a given type of culvert by doing a few calculations.

Construction methods

A culvert is constructed of concrete in a particular shape or pattern. There are many types of culverts, and the type that will work best for your particular site is determined by the hydraulic conditions. The height of the roadway, and the location of the culvert on the site will also affect the design. The culvert must be built with safety and traffic flow in mind, and construction safety devices should be used to ensure the safety of all workers and motorists.

To construct a culvert, the construction process begins by removing all debris and formwork from the area. The culvert is then cast by unscrewing cylindrical moulds. Once the culvert is cast, the side wing walls can be built. Any additional curing processes are applied to the concrete, including welding. The finished product will require a certain amount of time for curing, so it’s important to keep this in mind when preparing the culvert.

Among the many types of culverts, box culverts are rectangular and constructed of concrete. They have sharp edges and are typically made of concrete. However, they are not useful in periods of dry weather, and they can also act as animal passages. Another type of culvert is the arch culvert, a narrow pipe-like structure that extends across a waterway. Both types of culverts are constructed of concrete or steel. Steel arch culverts are more expensive and must be constructed of concrete or steel.

Box culverts, on the other hand, are low-profile culverts. They can be installed without disrupting the drainage causeway, and they are usually made of concrete, stone masonry, or RCC. Additionally, arch culverts are faster to install than traditional box culverts and require no expensive water diversion structures. You can also choose to install these culverts on a curved surface.


Various materials are used to construct culverts. Among the most common are steel, concrete, and polyvinyl chloride. There is a hybrid of concrete and steel as well, and some culverts are also made of corrugated steel pipes or structural insulated pipe. When choosing a material for a culvert, consider the cost and span of the structure before selecting one. Among the various shapes for culverts, you will find the box, the horizontal ellipse, and the open bottom arch.

A corrugated aluminum culvert is a simple structure made of factory-assembled corrugated aluminum pipe. Corrugated aluminum pipe comes in both long span and conventional structural plate structures. Aluminum is more pliable than steel, but its structural strength is less than that of steel. This material is not as tolerant of under-cover conditions as steel. But it is relatively affordable, so its advantages can’t be underestimated.

Another type of culvert is the pipe culvert. These are the simplest to install and can be constructed of smooth steel or corrugated steel. In addition, they are lightweight and are especially useful where headroom is limited. Pipe culverts can also have multiple openings for aesthetic purposes. Moreover, pipe-arch culverts are typically precast and constructed with a square or rectangular opening. Both types of culverts have their pros and cons.

Besides concrete, a wide range of materials are used in the construction of culverts. The most commonly used materials are steel, galvanized steel, and aluminum, with some alternatives. Depending on the strength of the culvert, concrete is a great option. But high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe is a good option for culverts with rounded shapes. They can also be lightweight and are easy to install.


When installing a culvert, you need to adhere to the local building codes. You should also get a permit and find out the location of underground utility lines. If you do not know where they are, you can consult your utility provider, but be aware of the health and safety risks involved. The materials used for the culvert should also meet the building codes of the area in which you live. In most cases, you can install a culvert yourself, but the proper permits are required.

Before installing a culvert, you must dig the trench to the proper depth and width. A skid-steer loader with a backhoe attachment should be used for this purpose. The trench should be wide enough to accommodate the pipe and contain at least six inches of extra space. The bottom of the trench must be sloping so that water can flow out through the high exit point. It is also important to mark the pipe length with marking paint.

The materials used for a culvert should be durable and resistant to wear over time. Additionally, the orientation of the culvert is important because it will affect the water flow through it. Also, consider topographic features as this can affect the flow of water through the culvert. The capacity of the culvert should be large enough to handle the amount of water runoff from storms. It is important to note that culvert installation can cost a fair amount, depending on the size, type, and other factors.

Culverts are a crucial part of infrastructure for a highway or road. They help prevent flooding and divert water away from the roadway and into a nearby stream or river. This keeps drivers from having to slow down and wait for the floodwater to recede. During a storm, a culvert is a critical part of road construction. When you have a culvert installed, you’ll have a safe and functional roadway.


Regular maintenance of culverts will increase their lifespan and prevent costly repairs. Culvert cleaning will also allow technicians to inspect the culvert’s lining and construction for problems. These problems may be signs of a larger problem, such as soil erosion or deterioration. For these reasons, it is important to hire a professional to perform culvert cleaning services. Listed below are some tips for culvert cleaning and inspection.

First of all, culverts can become clogged with sediment and other debris. In order to remove the sediment and debris, a pressure washer or sewage jetter is used. If necessary, rip rap rock material can be installed to prevent further sedimentation. Culverts can also be cleaned using a sewage jetter. After cleaning, culverts may need to be defrosted. Clean water flowing into the culvert should flow freely.

Moreover, culvert inspections should be conducted every five years. A single inspection may give an insight into a culvert’s condition, but it is not enough to determine whether it needs to be replaced. The culverts should be checked regularly after extreme storm events, periods of high flow, or when there is a significant change in the area, such as new development or increased runoff. The inspection should also include the replacement of a damaged bevel end, if necessary.

It is important to check for cracks and holes in a culvert’s wall. The most susceptible portion to corrosion is the top plate, which is bolted together with slightly oversized holes. This leakage tends to enter the bolt holes, which is why a concrete bottom can help. This is discussed further in the Repair section. If a culvert has a corroded bottom plate, it should be checked as well.