Hydraulic Design of Highway Culverts

Vincent D. Reynolds, MBA, P.E.

Course Outline

This course will cover the various engineering properties, commonly used shapes and types of highway culverts. Special topics in erosion/ sediment control and costs will also be discussed.

This 11 hour course will cover the hydraulics of highway culverts as well as commonly used shapes, inlet and outlet conditions, and other special considerations.

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of course materials.

Learning Objective

At the conclusion of this course, the student would have learned the following:

• How culverts are defined;
• How to calculate the Froude number and its purpose in culvert design;
• Common culvert materials;
• How to define pressure flow;
• How different inlet configurations affect headwater;
• The difference between inlet and outlet control;
• How to determine the return period of a flood;
• How to determine the headwater depth;
• How to determine the FALL depth;
• How to determine the velocity head;
• How to define hydrographs and their effect on the watershed;
• How to measure peak flow;
• How the slope of a culverts affects its performance;
• How to calculate the Manning’s n value;
• How to determine the velocity of a culvert flowing full;
• The best location for placing culverts;
• How to determine the entrance loss in a culvert;
• How to calculate minor losses in a culvert;
• How to determine the critical depth of flow;
• How to calculate the flow rate of water on an inundated roadway;
• How to use the continuity equations;
• How to use unit hydrographs;
• When the best scenario exists to use multiple barrel culverts;
• How to design culverts in waters with fish migration routes;
• How storage of runoff can increase the flood peak;
• How to determine the loss coefficients in bends;
• How to place culverts so that the natural stream bed is simulated;
• How scour is caused at culvert inlets;
• The various loads that affect culvert barrel design;
• How skews can effect culvert design;
• The best pH range within a soil to place aluminum culvert materials;
• How to determine the culvert with the greatest economic advantage;
• How project erosion and sediment levels can affect the design of the culvert;
• The various debris control methods for culvert sites;
• How to determine the Headwater for various culvert sizes and types using nomographs;
• How to determine when a culvert will act as a siphon;
• How to determine the velocity of flow through a pipe using the manning’s equation;
• How aesthetics and environmental concerns are involved in the choice of using a bridge or culvert;
• The best scenario to use low head culverts;
• How to protect against scour at culvert outlets;
• The primary safety considerations in the design and construction of a culvert;
• How to corrugations affect the resistance in corrugated pipes;
• How to use the Darcy equation; and
• How to determine if a culvert is operating under inlet or outlet control.

Intended Audience and Benefit

This is intended for highway engineers, hydrologists, hydraulic engineers, environmental engineers, and project managers, or any persons working in civil engineering field or anyone with an interest in highway culverts.

Course Introduction

Culverts are used to convey water across a roadway. Culverts can be made from a variety of materials and also come in a variety of shapes. The shape and type of culvert will depend on several factors including roadway life, flow rates, soil conditions, water elevations and depth of placement among others.

Course Content

This course will cover the various engineering properties, commonly used shapes and types of highway culverts. Special topics in erosion /sediment control and costs will also be discussed.

Hydraulic Design of Highway Culverts

Course Summary

The information presented in this course provided a detailed overview of the hydraulic design and characteristics of highway culverts.

Using good engineering judgment is always paramount in any situation. Utilizing good judgment and the knowledge gained in this course will aid the reader with the knowledge to successfully design safe and efficient highway culverts.