Guide to Maintaining and Repairing Small Culverts

Project Summary


In development

Last Updated

June, 2020

Responsible Council / Committee

Infrastructure & Asset Management Council / Maintenance & Operations Committee


To be determined

Expected Duration

24 months

Total Funding Estimate


Staff Contact


Culverts beneath road embankments often remain unnoticed until a defect leads to rupture of the road link. Culvert failure represents a serious risk to road users and compromises the functionality of the road network. To maintain an adequate level of service, culverts should be inspected frequently to identify necessary maintenance or repair interventions. Several techniques for maintenance and repair have been developed and, when mastered, can enhance the life cycle of the structure.


The project will develop a technical guide explaining maintenance and repair interventions for small culverts (i.e. those with a diameter smaller than about 3 m), which are less well documented than larger culverts. The guide will address all culvert materials but will focus on steel, concrete and HDPE as they are most common; it may also highlight technical differences among provinces and municipalities. Major tasks would include a literature review, and possibly a survey or other research.

Guidance will address minor repairs, rehabilitation, maintenance, and special items for maintenance or repairs. Interventions to be covered may include slip lining and liners (e.g. fold and form, cured in place, spray on, swagelining, spirally wound, rib & trough, continuous insert and re-rounding), crack sealing, extensions, repairs (e.g. invert, joint, void, scour & erosion [riprap or vegetation], ends [wingwall, endwall, cutoff]), drainage ditch cleaning, debris removal (e.g. sediments, beaver dams, ice), fish baffles, beveled edges, safety end grates, steam pipe and heat trace installations, and so on.


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