Mitigating Frost Heaves and Dips Near Centerline Culverts

Minnesota county engineers have sometimes observed heaves and dips near centerline culverts during cold winter months. In these instances, during the late winter and early spring, the area where a culvert has been replaced does not heave or heaves only slightly, while the roadway on either side of the replaced culvert heaves. The heave and dip disappear entirely, or nearly entirely, during the late spring and early summer when the road embankment thaws. Possible causes for this phenomenon include: Improper application or lack of taper in the installation; Improperly addressed compressible foundation soils; Poor compaction of backfill materials; and Use of granular, nonfrost-susceptible soils rather than native soil for backfill. CTC & Associates conducted a literature search and surveyed representatives from transportation agencies in cold-climate states in the United States and provinces in Canada that may have experience with heaves and dips near centerline culverts during cold weather, and practices to mitigate them. Some publications use the term “differential frost heave”; for purposes of this report, this cold weather heave-and-dip phenomenon is referred to as a “frost dip.” This document includes a summary of the survey findings, related research, and the full text survey responses.


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  • Accession Number: 01599212
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Created Date: May 18 2016 10:47AM