Corrugated Steel Culvert Corrosion & Abrasion Performance

California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) existing methodology for predicting service life of steel culverts is based on field studies of roughly 12,000 pipes conducted in the 1950’s by the Department’s Corrosion Unit. The model developed has been in use by Caltrans for over 50 years, and serves as the basis for steel culvert durability estimates by numerous entities around the world. This method uses inputs of soil/water acidity and resistivity as well as consideration of constant flowing stream water to arrive at its service life determination. While these studies acknowledge the presence of abrasion, the methodology does not allow for such input. Based on more recent testing (See FHWA/CA/TL – CA01-0173 ), it is apparent that abrasion plays a much more significant role in culvert durability than the method considers, particularly for culverts in watersheds with significant bedload. In addition, tools exist that can non-destructively measure the remaining steel thickness of in-situ culverts to within 0.001” with dependable accuracy. Finally, current methods for reduction of compiled data and statistical analysis would provide opportunity for a more thorough examination of collected field data than was available in the 1950’s. The state of California will be split into thirds, i.e. northern, mid, and southern regions. The estimated number of culverts to be studied will be approximately 7 months at 8 per team per month, translating to approximately 170 culverts per year and over 500 culverts for the scheduled three-year research effort.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Contract to a Performing Organization has not yet been awarded.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Sponsor Organizations:

    California Department of Transportation

    Sacramento, CA  United States  95819
  • Project Managers:

    Nagra, Sukhdeep

  • Start Date: 20160727
  • Expected Completion Date: 20190827
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01620041
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: California Department of Transportation
  • Files: RIP, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: Dec 28 2016 11:40AM