Precast Box Culvert advantages, uses, and designs

By November 21, 2016 No Comments

Precast concrete box culverts are an alternative to circular concrete pipes. Box culverts drain high volumes of water and generally handle a higher flow rate than pipes. Box culverts offer superior strength and easier installation than other materials.

Commonly used for drainage, box culverts can be used as tunnels, for storage, or material handling. Some culverts double as bridges that can accommodate vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Other culverts are relatively small and Columbia Precast Products can make culverts in various shapes and sizes.

Precast Box Culvert Designs

Precast box culverts are available in several sizes. Standard box sizes can be from three feet wide and two feet tall all the way up to 12-by-12. Typically, precast box culverts are sold in six and eight-foot lengths. We also create custom sizes to meet precise project plans.

Other features include:

  • Joints: Precast box sections have tongue and groove points to allow for mastic joint compound packing. Packing with preformed mastic or butyl gaskets or even mortar also helps seal the joints.
  • Linings & Coatings: Depending on your project, a wide variety of linings and coatings exist to extend the lifespan.
  • Three-sided bridge: Three-sided bridge units offer structural integrity while allowing for a natural stream bed. Eco-friendly, these bridges are installed with zero impact on the waterway and ecosystem.
  • Headwalls: Used at the inlet and outlet of a pipe system, headwalls are mainly intended for use with box culverts. Also known as wing walls, they can be used at outlets for a larger stormwater system.
  • Precast footings: Stored until needed, these footings can be simply dropped into a hole and built upon from there.

Codes will also affect precast box culvert designs. In Washington, precast box culvert designs used for bridges must meet standard specifications. This includes concrete strength and reinforcement. Precast reinforced concrete box culverts are also used for more complex designs such as stream crossings or highway underpasses.

What Are the Advantages of Precast Box Culverts?

Some culverts are made by pouring concrete at the site, but precast concrete products offer several advantages. Here are a few of the benefits of precast box culverts:

  • Strength: We design culverts to meet or exceed the required load capacity. Precast concrete can be manufactured to support pedestrians, livestock, automobiles, rail transportation, and more.
  • Consistency: Precast concrete made in a controlled facility allows for strict control during casting. The quality of poured concrete can suffer from weather variations, common in Washington and Oregon.
  • Fewer delays: Precast concrete culverts are manufactured in advance. When it’s time to install, culverts require a crane and a small work crew. Once placed, backfilled, and put into service, other construction can begin. This ease of installation reduces budget-busting delays.
  • Let it rain: When making precast products, rain, temperature, and site conditions aren’t a factor. Precast concrete is installed in both wet conditions and cold temperatures.
  • Budget and eco-friendly: Installation of precast box culverts require fewer workers and hours which ultimately saves money. We use recycled materials and water when possible. We strive to improve our methods to ensure minimal impact on the environment.

Variety of Uses for Box Culverts

Other applications that can benefit or profit from box culverts that you may not have considered include the following:

  • Creating waterway passages. A precast box culvert can remove obstructions below the water, restoring habitats for fish and other water-dwelling species.
  • Carving out urban trails. A multi-cell design can provide safe passage under highways and greenways for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Providing underground access. Law enforcement agencies in urban settings have used precast box culverts to create underground paths from station to jail. Box culverts also providing a way to move materials under a street instead of over.
  • Managing rainwater runoff. Multi-cell precast box culvert storage areas collect rainwater runoff overload and hold it. This allows local water treatment facilities the ability to manage the excess and flow it back into the system.
  • Simulating military environments. Precast box culverts have been used to replicate Afghanistan’s cave environment for military training exercises.
  • Building industrial passages. The exceptional strength of precast box culverts makes them useful as ducts for electrical cables, hot water, oil, steam, or air.

Are you ready to use high-quality precast concrete box culverts at your next job site? Have questions about other uses for box culverts? Contact Columbia Precast Products today and find out what we can do for you.