Cost-effective Methods to Retrofit Metal Culverts Using Composites

Metal culverts have served as a common structural element in highway design since the mid-1950’s because of their low initial cost, ease of fabrication and simple construction method. There has been an epidemic of corrosion of metal culverts for the last decade. Such corrosion results in loss of cross-section and occasionally leads to structural failure of the culvert. Numerous failures have taken place imposing a high cost with the need to rebuild many culverts in addition to significant indirect costs associated with highway closure. While the expected life span of metal culverts is around 50 years, the literature reports that most metal culverts survived no longer than 30 years before the need for repair and retrofit specifically because of corrosion. Currently, corroded metal culverts are repaired using a corrugated steel liner with a grouting material or using shotcrete material. Both techniques are still prone to corrosion and degradation as steel liners would start to corrode after getting in touch with the corroding metal culverts and shotcrete will lose its roughness with water flow. Hence, there is an immediate need to develop a cost-effective corrosion-free technique to retrofit corroding metal culverts. The proposed technique shall enable extending the service life of metal culverts to at least 75 years. Glass fiber reinforced polymers (GFRP) have become a desirable material for structural strengthening and rehabilitation in the last two decades. While corrosion free and of low weight, GFRP cost has dropped significantly with manufacturing advances. In addition, GFRP material does not require additional protective coatings or maintenance. Hence, we suggest investigating two techniques to retrofit the existing metal culverts using GFRP material. The proposed investigations include conducting a literature search of rehabilitation costs and materials for metal culverts, developing a culvert database with the help of New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) including the characteristics of existing metal culverts in New Mexico, and testing the use of GFRP for culvert rehabilitation. The project will conduct an experimental program to examine bond issues between GFRP and metal surfaces to identify the optimal method and adhesive to attach GFRP to metal culverts. The project will then conduct finite element simulation and cost-analysis to select the optimal method to retrofit metal culverts using GFRP composites. Furthermore, the project will then conduct a laboratory load test of a scaled metal culvert retrofitted with GFRP using the selected retrofitting technique to understand the behavior of the retrofitted system. Finally, during the implementation phase, one corroded metal culvert from the database will be selected. The design of GFRP retrofit of this metal culvert will be conducted and communicated with NMDOT.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • 17STUNM03


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $188000
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    Transportation Consortium of South-Central States (Tran-SET)

    Louisiana State University
    Baton Rouge, LA  United States  70803
  • Project Managers:

    Bogus, Susan

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of New Mexico, Albuquerque

    Department of Civil Engineering
    Albuquerque, NM  United States  87131-0001
  • Principal Investigators:

    Taha, Mahmoud

    Bogus, Susan

  • Start Date: 20170508
  • Expected Completion Date: 20190831
  • Actual Completion Date: 20190831
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01635007
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Consortium of South-Central States (Tran-SET)
  • Contract Numbers: 69A3551747106
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: May 21 2017 10:17AM