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Posts Tagged ‘advantages of culverts’

Image: Worakit Sirijinda / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Is your driveway constantly being washed out? Are you looking for a hassle-free way to let water flow from one side of your driveway to another without you having to think about it? A culvert maybe the answer.

What is a Culvert?

A driveway culvert is used to carry water from one side of your driveway to the other and consists of a large pipe being buried in the ground, out of sight, and out of mind. Next time you drive down a country road or though your city streets, chances are you’ll be driving over a culvert or two.

Culverts are commonly used on privately owed properties and in driveways to allow traffic to pass over drainage ditches whether they are natural or man-made. (My parents have a driveway culvert which allows a brook to flow naturally from one side of the driveway to the other.)

Culverts are made from different materials and vary in size depending on the amount of water they need to carry and the distance the water must travel through an obstruction such as your driveway. When installed properly, driveway culverts are safe to drive over and made to withstand varying amounts of traffic.

Types of Culverts

Culverts are made from different types of materials including plastic (heavy-gauge polymer), concrete (corrugated), and steel (reinforced). Some culverts are even made from a mix of concrete and steel.

Depending on individual needs, the amount of water that needs to flow unobstructed, traffic load, and materials used to backfill the culvert, the size and shape of the culvert varies. Culverts generally come in 5 different shapes which include box, round, flat bottom, elliptical, and pear-shaped.

Advantages of Culverts

  • Prevent Erosion
  • Prevent Flooding
  • Allow Water to Flow Unobstructed
  • Divert Water for Farming/Engineering Purposes

What to Expect During Culvert Installation on Your Property

First, your general contractor will survey the area where the culvert installation will take place. He or she will then select the proper diameter and length of the culvert. He will also secure the necessary permits needed for the culvert installation.

Typically, driveway culverts are 2 feet longer than the width of the driveway. 1 foot extends past the driveway on each side. Selecting the proper diameter and length of the culvert is important because it needs to be able to safely handle the amount of water that passes through it, especially during  heavy rains or snow melt.

Depending on the size of the driveway culvert being installed, you should expect your general contractor to use heavy equipment during the installation process including a backhoe or excavator, skid steer, and masonry saw if your driveway is made from concrete or asphalt.

When it comes to culvert installation, your general contractor will excavate the drainage ditch in the area where the culvert will be installed. He may need to add some fill to the area in order to create a sturdy and smooth surface to lay the culvert on.

The fill, or materials used under the culvert, will be smoothed and packed at a slope to ensure continuous water flow. This is an important part of the culvert installation process because how well the materials are compacted under the culvert will affect the settling* of the culvert over time.

He will then place the culvert in the ground, again, depending on the size of your culvert, heavy machinery maybe used to do this. The culvert will then be backfilled. During this process, more fill will be added around the culvert, smoothed, and packed.

Your general contractor will then repair the area of your driveway that was disturbed during this process. If you have a concrete or asphalt driveway, he will resurface the disturbed area. This is where the masonry saw comes in handy.

* If you notice a dip or depression in the area covering your driveway culvert, this is a good indication the culvert has settled. If this happens, contact your general contractor for a list of options to fix the problem.

These are the basics of a driveway culvert installation. Unless you have a regular “go to guy” get estimates from 2 -3 experienced contractors to ensure you are getting the best quoted price for the work you need done. A job that requires the use of heavy machinery and lots of labor will cost you more.

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