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Question DetailsAsked on 7/20/2015

driveway culvert replacement

What is the cost of repairing a driveway culvert?

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2 Answers


Depends on what is wrong, diameter, depth of burial, etc. Jacking a crushed end back open might costs $150 or so - or you can do it yourself with a smaller culvert using a floor jack, if you have one. Totally replacing a culvert can typically run (with nominal 3-4 feet or less of burial depth) around $10-20/LF for plastic, or $20-30/LF for galvanized metal for the culvert itself in the normal 12-18 size most driveways have. Installation costs typically about $200-400 for nominal 16' or less width drive, plus about $6-10/SF for repaving over the repaired area if a concrete or asphalt paved driveway. Of course, wider or deeper one roughly proportionally more expensive.

Generally, a damaged or especially a rusted out culvert is not worth repairing - by the time you have dug it up, you are generally better off just replacing it rather than trying to repair, except for crushed-down end extensions which you can jack back open in many cases (with galvanized steel culverts) - aluminum and plastic will generally split doing that.

Be sure to check with local road or drainage department on the standards for the culvert and need for a permit - usually they will stipulate a minimum culvert size (typically 10 or 12 inch, occasionally smaller or larger) - and in some cases it will turn out that they are responsible for the culvert and any needed repairs that were not due to your negligence.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD


Forgot to mention contractor types - for an unpaved drive Excavation would be your normal category, also for paved driveways if you find a Driveway Paving contractor that will do the repair paving but does not have a backhoe to dig out and replace the culvert.

To avoid short-circuiting and washing out around the culvert, be sure they properly compact all around it with a jumping jack or plate compactor, and should attempt to compact fine-grained soil around the upstream area a a water barrier (covered with cobbles or rocks to inhibit inlet erosion), and a foot or so thickness of crushed rock or cobbly gravel around the outlet area as a filter is a good idea too. Also, to reduce erosion at inlet and outlet, should use a flare fitting at each end (required in many areas) or extend the culvert a foot or two past the fill, though this reduces its flow capacity significantly (as much as almost 80% in the worst case compared to a headwall inlet) so commonly mandates a larger size.

One other possibility - depending on local code and pipe type and size - sometimes a deteriorated but not collapsing corrugated metal culvert can be lined with a smooth-interior surface plastic drain pipe sleeved into it and fitted with an inlet fitting to prevent it being pulled through by the flow, and actually handle the same flow capacity. This is sometimes an economic solution for rusting culverts nearing their end of life but not totally collapsing yet.

Sometimes, even if they are not responsible for it, the applicable road department for your road will (if you take them the info on type, dimensions, etc and photo of inlet and outlet conditions) determine what size culvert is needed and if sleeving will fill the bill for your case. Otherwise, most culvert supply places will do that for you (or for the contractor) if you give them the flow capacity the road department demands, the needed length, and the height of the fill over the culvert, which controls requires pipe strength and also affects flow capacity based on how high the water can back up at the inlet in flooding conditions.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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