Development of Self-Cleaning Box Culvert Design – Phase II, TR-619, 2013

(2013) Development of Self-Cleaning Box Culvert Design – Phase II, TR-619, 2013. Transportation, Department of


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TR 619 Tech Brief .pdf

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Culverts are common means to convey flow through the roadway system for small streams. In general, larger flows and road embankment heights entail the use of multibarrel culverts (a.k.a. multi-box) culverts. Box culverts are generally designed to handle events with a 50-year return period, and therefore convey considerably lower flows much of the time. While there are no issues with conveying high flows, many multi-box culverts in Iowa pose a significant problem related to sedimentation. The highly erosive Iowa soils can easily lead to the situation that some of the barrels can silt-in early after their construction, becoming partially filled with sediment in few years. Silting can reduce considerably the capacity of the culvert to handle larger flow events. Phase I of this Iowa Highway Research Board project (TR-545) led to an innovative solution for preventing sedimentation. The solution was comprehensively investigated through laboratory experiments and numerical modeling aimed at screening design alternatives and testing their hydraulic and sediment conveyance performance. Following this study phase, the Technical Advisory Committee suggested to implement the recommended sediment mitigation design to a field site. The site selected for implementation was a 3-box culvert crossing Willow Creek on IA Hwy 1W in Iowa City. The culvert was constructed in 1981 and the first cleanup was needed in 2000. Phase II of the TR 545 entailed the monitoring of the site with and without the selfcleaning sedimentation structure in place (similarly with the study conducted in laboratory). The first monitoring stage (Sept 2010 to December 2012) was aimed at providing a baseline for the operation of the as-designed culvert. In order to support Phase II research, a cleanup of the IA Hwy 1W culvert was conducted in September 2011. Subsequently, a monitoring program was initiated to document the sedimentation produced by individual and multiple storms propagating through the culvert. The first two years of monitoring showed inception of the sedimentation in the first spring following the cleanup. Sedimentation continued to increase throughout the monitoring program following the depositional patterns observed in the laboratory tests and those documented in the pre-cleaning surveys. The second part of Phase II of the study was aimed at monitoring the constructed self-cleaning structure. Since its construction in December 2012, the culvert site was continuously monitored through systematic observations. The evidence garnered in this phase of the study demonstrates the good performance of the self-cleaning structure in mitigating the sediment deposition at culverts. Besides their beneficial role in sediment mitigation, the designed self-cleaning structures maintain a clean and clear area upstream the culvert, keep a healthy flow through the central barrel offering hydraulic and aquatic habitat similar with that in the undisturbed stream reaches upstream and downstream the culvert. It can be concluded that the proposed self-cleaning structural solution “streamlines” the area upstream the culvert in a way that secures the safety of the culvert structure at high flows while producing much less disturbance in the stream behavior compared with the current constructive approaches.

Item Type: Departmental Report
Keywords: Box culverts, Culverts, Sediment discharge, Sedimentation, Streamflow, Iowa Highway 1, Willow Creek, self-cleaning box culvert, TR-619, TR-545,
Subjects: Transportation
Transportation > Bridges and tunnels
Transportation > Design and Construction
ID Code: 16341
Deposited By: Leighton Christiansen
Deposited On: 14 Mar 2014 12:00
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2018 17:47