The Economic Costs of Culvert Failures
In this study, all states in the United States and Canada were surveyed regarding their culvert practices. The surveys were used to develop an understanding of what procedure and criteria are employed by the various agencies in selecting the best suitable pipe material for their culverts. The surveys also attempted to gain an insight into the documentation practices employed by each agency to track the failures in their jurisdiction. Failure case studies were examined to assess the true costs of the installation of a culvert pipe during emergency circumstances as opposed to normal, planned installations. In any risk analysis, the pipe material must be considered. Once future culvert failures are documented and a statistical sample can be ascertained, a risk assessment can quantify the potential hazards and a risk factor can be assigned to each pipe material. This should not preclude the use of one pipe versus another but at least help in assessing the trade-offs between initial installation cost and future reliability/risk.