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A culvert is a structure that allows water to flow under a road, railroad, trail or similar obstruction. Typically surrounded by soil, culverts may be made from pipe, reinforced concrete or other material.

Culvert illustration

Illustration: Culvert


Culvert photo

Photograph: Culvert

Source: The image above illustrates the key components of Culverts.

A. Headwall: Helps retain the sloping ground above the box culvert or drainage pipes.

B. Flared wings: Helps to retain the sloped ground adjacent to the box culvert or drainage pipe.

C. Gabions, or energy dissipaters: Wire mesh containers filled with rock.

D. Box culvert or drainage pipe: A square or rectangular concrete structure usually made of corrugated metal or concrete.


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