by Angus Stocking
Arched culverts made of bolted-together corrugated metal plates are a common feature in Ohio’s sewer infrastructure. “We have quite a few of them,” said Doug Gruver, P.E., a project engineer for the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT). “Overall, they really do their job; they have a decent lifespan, about 50 years minimum, and we’ve developed ways to extend that with different coatings, depending on the pH of the water and abrasiveness of the streambed material.”
Even so, there are many such culverts out there, and many have been in place for a long time. Even when performing optimally, culverts installed in the 1950s and ’60s have reached their design lifespan and are beginning to fail. Invert failure is most common, and relatively easy to fix; ODOT routinely paves failing metal inverts with concrete to extend culvert lifespans.