A picture of a gated culvert with trees around it.

One of the questions every driver has when they’re given directions to a construction site is “How many different types of culverts are there?” or “What type of culvert do I need?” If you’re working on a job that requires a specific type of culvert, it’s important to know what it is so you don’t end up using the wrong one.

A general answer to this question is that there are three main types of culverts. They are box culverts, headwalls and pipe culverts as well as arch, corrugated metal (CMC) culverts and end sections/embedment/separators. We’ll go over each in turn and explain their differences so you know exactly what type of culvert you need for any job.


What is a culvert?

A culvert is a waterproofed pipe or channel used to convey water under a road or railway, or to carry stormwater runoff from a roadway. Culverts are usually constructed of reinforced concrete, steel, or plastic and may also be made from pre-cast concrete segments.

Culverts have several uses in civil engineering. They allow for drainage in areas where it would otherwise not flow naturally, such as in valleys and flood plains. They can also be used to carry water between two locations where it may not be possible to build pipes due to the terrain (such as in mountainous areas). In some cases, culverts have been used to divert traffic around railroad crossings.

How Much Do You Know About Your Culverts?

If you have culverts nearby your property, it’s important to understand what type of culvert it is and where it runs through. Drain 247 can help you find out.

Things You Should Know About Culverts

1. Culverts are used to allow water to pass under a road or other structure such as a bridge.

2. Culverts usually have an opening at one end and a closing or closing mechanism at the other end.

3. The opening is usually wider than the closing, but this may vary depending on the structure involved and the size of culvert being used.

4. A culvert may be made of steel, concrete, or wood depending on what materials are available locally and what would be considered suitable for the site conditions being faced by the project team.

5. Some culverts have covers over them to protect them from damage caused by vehicles passing through them on roads or other routes that lead away from their location.

While culverts are designed to be durable and long-lasting, they do still need periodic inspections and maintenance to ensure that everything is running smoothly.

Different Types of Culverts

When it comes to culverts, you may be wondering how many different types of culverts there are. The answer is many.

Box Culverts
The box culvert is a simple, inexpensive solution that can be used in many different situations. The box culvert is not meant to hold back water for any length of time, but rather to provide a temporary solution until more permanent structures can be built. Box culverts are usually made from steel pipe and are designed to fit into pre-existing openings in the ground. A double box culvert can be used to protect against flooding during high water events by creating two separate channels for water to flow through.

Headwalls are another option for protecting your property from flooding caused by high water events. This type of culvert consists of a metal wall with an opening at one end and a cap at the other end that covers the opening when it’s not being used. It’s typically used along streams or rivers that are prone to flooding due to melting snow or rainwater runoff. The headwall is constructed using larger-diameter pipe than is used in standard box culverts, making it less susceptible to erosion when exposed to heavy amounts of traffic or vandalism.

Pipe Culverts
Pipe culverts are made from steel pipe that has been welded together and reinforced for strength. Pipe culverts come in two different diameters – 3/4″ and 1-1/4″ – depending on the flow rate required for the pipes being installed. Pipe culverts will have a flanged end that allows for easy installation of the pipe into the ground.

Arch Culverts
Arch culverts are also made out of steel pipe but are designed to curve around curves in the ground. This makes them more efficient at handling water flow than straight pipe culverts because they can handle side slopes better than straight pipes do (since they’re not as stiff). They can also be installed much easier than straight pipe culverts because they have a flanged end on them which make them easy to install into the ground without having to use any special tools or equipment.

Corrugated Metal Culverts (CMCs)
CMCs are corrugated metal culverts that can be used when there is no need for a waterway to be completely covered. CMCs are made from steel and are supported by concrete walls. They have an inset section at the top, which allows for any objects that may pass through the culvert to fall into the culvert without being damaged.

End Sections/Embedments/Separators
End sections and embedments are small pieces of metal that are added to the ends of a large diameter pipe. They provide extra support to prevent collapse under pressure, while also providing protection from erosion due to long-term exposure to water flow. End sections are usually composed of recycled steel or aluminum, while embedments are made from high strength steel with a corrosion resistant coating. Separators are designed to keep debris in place while also creating a space between pipes so that water flows freely throughout your culvert system.

The Benefits of Culverts

Culverts are a great way to divert water from a road or area of land to another location. Culverts provide an effective way for water management, stormwater and drainage.

Culverts provide:

Water management: culverts can be used to divert rainwater, snowmelt or any other floodwater away from a residence or business. This can help prevent flooding by redirecting the flow of water away from populated areas.

Stormwater management: culverts are commonly used in residential areas as they allow rainwater to drain off the property without damaging driveways and sidewalks. In addition, culverts can be installed at high points on the property where there is little drainage capacity at ground level. This allows excess stormwater to flow into a drain or ditch that can then be treated further downstream.

Drainage: culverts are an important part of stormwater management because they allow stormwater runoff to safely flow downslope without causing damage to nearby properties or roadsides.

Diversion: culverts allow water that would otherwise damage roadsides or suburban lawns to safely flow into nearby ditches and drains where it can be treated further downstream.

Other Benefits of Culverts

Culverts are a great way to allow emergency vehicles to pass through a flood-prone area quickly. They help prevent damage to bridges and other structures by reducing water pressure against them during periods of heavy rainfall or snow melt runoff events when water levels rise rapidly in streams and rivers surrounding them.

Emergency usages: Culverts can be constructed quickly when emergency repairs are required due to flooding or other disasters. They allow emergency services such as police cars, ambulances and fire trucks to pass through without having to stop their vehicles on the side of the road where there is no shoulder or lane space available for them to do so safely.

Prevent damage to bridges: They help prevent damage to bridges or other structures by reducing water pressure against them during periods of heavy rainfall or snow melt runoff events when water levels rise rapidly in streams and rivers surrounding them.

Does Your Culvert Need Maintenance of Repairs?

If you’re noticing signs of culvert damage, don’t leave the problem! Let our expert drainage engineers take care of the problem for you.

Final Thoughts

A culvert is a pipe-shaped structure that allows water to flow under a road or river or through a steep landscape. Culverts come in numerous sizes, shapes, materials and types. Culverts are most commonly made with concrete, PVC or corrugated metal in addition to wood and steel pipe. Their function is vital to protecting the health and welfare of citizens. Your engineer may need access to this information for determining what type will fit your project’s needs.