Flexible culverts in sloping terrain: research advances and application

Although the construction of flexible culverts involves simplicity in comparison to similar concrete structures, the complexity of the beneficial interaction between soil and steel materials requires good understanding for their composite action and performance. Current design methods have certain validity limitations with regard to applicable slopes above the structures. Given the short construction time of flexible culverts, there is an urge to explore the feasibility and the constructability of such as cost-effective structures in sloping terrain, where they may function as an avalanche protection structure for a given road, a culvert under a ski slope, or even as a protection canopy for tunnel entrances. This report compiles the efforts carried out toward gaining knowledge about the different factors that may affect the behaviour of flexible culverts in sloping environment. The report includes an extended summary of the investigation, which is mainly presented in two appended papers. The study involved numerical simulation of three case studies to investigate their performances with regard to soil loading and avalanche loads as well. The height of cover, surface slope intensity, slope stability, soil support conditions, and avalanche proximity, were studied and discussed. The study results allowed realizing the susceptibility of flexible culverts to low heights of soil cover when built in sloping terrain, which is reflected in the deformation response and the incremental change in sectional forces, especially the bending moments. It is also found that increasing the depth of soil cover may feasibly improve the structural performance under asymmetrical soil loading and avalanche loads, where it subsequently help in reducing the bending moments in the wall conduit. The presence of a flexible culvert may affect adversely the soil stability in sloping terrain and thus need to be addressed in design. Furthermore, the flexural response of a flexible culvert is directly influenced by the soil support configuration at the downhill side of the structure. In addition, the report also attempts to highlight some general guidelines about the design aspects of flexible culverts in sloping terrain, and seeks to reflect some of the findings on the design methodology for flexible culverts used in Sweden.


  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: 46
  • Serial:
    • Issue Number: 135
    • Publisher: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden
    • ISSN: 1103-4270

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01631375
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI)
  • Files: ITRD, VTI
  • Created Date: Mar 30 2017 12:20PM