Service Life of Culverts

Title: Service Life of Culverts: A Synthesis of Highway Practice
Author: Maher, Michael
Publication Date: 2015
Dewey Decimal Number: 388.13
Call Record: DIGITAL      388.13  Maher  2015


Service Life of Culverts

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The objective of this study was to update the 1998 NCHRP Synthesis 254: Service Life of Drainage Pipe, which in turn updated the 1978 NCHRP Synthesis 50: Durability of Drainage Pipe. The study approach consisted of two primary thrusts. First, a survey of North American transportation agencies was performed to determine the current state of practice. Second, a literature review was performed to assess both the state of practice and the state of the art with regard to the subject topic. This study showed a diverse range of pipe types in common usage among the states, with concrete, corrugated galvanized steel, and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipes as the most common pipe types in use, followed by galvanized structural plate and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Within the past 15 years there has been significant advancement in understanding the mechanisms of pipe degradation in service. Significant work has been done with respect to corrosion and the main factors that influence its development in concrete and metal pipes; that is, pH, resistivity, chloride, and sulfates. This has led to studies into how to retard or prevent corrosion by the use of thicker walls, better materials, coatings, and liners. Advances have also been made in a better understanding of abrasion and how it enhances the rate of degradation from corrosion, and how its damaging effects can be mitigated. There has also been effective research undertaken in understanding the time-dependent changes in mechanical properties of thermoplastic pipe, particularly slow crack growth and oxidative/chemical failure and how they can be controlled. Little recent advancement has been made in refining pipe service prediction models, even for the more common pipe types. However, with the combination of research on the degradation mechanisms, a better understanding of the progression of deterioration, tied in with greater sources of pipe performance data from agency pipe inventories, in future more rapid progress in improving these models should be possible.

Report/Paper Numbers:

Project 20-05 (Topic 45-01)




Maher, Michael
Hebeler, Gregory
Fuggle, Andrew



Publication Date:



NCHRP Synthesis of Highway Practice

Issue Number: 474
Publisher: Transportation Research Board
ISSN: 0547-5570



Media Type:



Appendices; References

Subject Areas:

Bridges and other structures; Highways; Maintenance and Preservation; I60: Maintenance