Practices to Enhance Resiliency of Existing Culverts

State departments of transportation (DOTs) recognize that management and maintenance practices for existing culverts fundamentally influence culvert performance and have subsequent impacts on other assets and overall transportation system performance. State DOTs actively research and implement methods to reduce costs, minimize maintenance, improve performance, and ultimately increase the longevity of culverts.  Climatic, geologic, hydrologic, and topographic conditions across the country are highly varied. Therefore, the needs of state DOTs to reduce culvert degradation impacts and improve resilience are common, yet the approaches may be diverse.  Differences in rainfall duration and intensity, extreme flooding event characteristics, seismic susceptibility, slope and embankment stability issues, vulnerabilities to drought or fire, watershed characteristics, and urban development and land uses create different system challenges.  Although the demands that state DOTs face vary significantly, commonalities exist, and practices used to enhance the resiliency of culverts can be broadly employed. Currently, there is an awareness gap, as not all state DOTs are aware of management and maintenance practices used by other state DOTs to address and improve the performance and resiliency of their existing culverts. Culverts were frequently identified and assessed as vulnerable components to extreme events and climate change during a 2013-2015 pilot study (FHWA-HEP-16-079). Documenting  priority practices and remedial measures for culvert management and maintenance is an important step in planning for improved system operations, performance, and resilience.  The objective of this synthesis is to document practices used by state  DOTs to enhance resiliency of existing culverts.  Information to be gathered includes (but is not limited to): (1) Practices to protect inlet and outlet basins from erosion;  (2) Remedial measures employed, such as using culvert liners; (3) Practices addressing accumulation of debris, sedimentation, and clogging; (4) Practices for remedial environmental corrections, such as for fish passage; (5) Practices addressing embankment overtopping; (6) Practices addressing coastal impacts, including inundation and storm surge; (7) Practices that mitigate against piping at outlets and soil loss through joints due to pressure heads induced by storm event flooding and inundation; (8) Existing post-event response and repair strategies for destroyed and damaged culverts;  (9) Existing risk-management strategies to assess and prioritize the criticality and vulnerability of culverts, such as real-time monitoring and warning systems;  (10) Past exposure and historic evaluation of culverts; (11) Assessment methodologies to evaluate cost/benefit and lifecycle cost for resiliency improvements; and (12) Identification of issues related to specific culvert types and materials that could affect resilience.


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $55000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-15, Topic 55-17

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Synthesis

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Larson, Sandra

  • Start Date: 20230801
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01886722
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-15, Topic 55-17
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: Jun 28 2023 4:58PM