The bridge. It’s been an age-old engineering challenge.  While the basic concept and principles remain the same, bridge design and construction has actually changed significantly over the last several years. A perfect example of this is concrete box culvert bridge construction.  Taking a closer look at this type of bridge can highlight why it’s becoming a go-to solution for many projects and what it has to offer.

concrete box culvert bridge construction

What Is A Box Culvert?

A box culvert is essentially a solid piece of concrete that is cast in a specific shape that functions not only as a bridge but as a reliable, durable culvert. The designs specifically allow streams and small creeks to continue to flow while allowing access over the bridge. Bridge maintenance is an ongoing concern for those in charge of managing infrastructures.  However, municipalities are turning to concrete box culvert bridge construction more and more frequently.

There are numerous benefits of the box culvert bridge design. Box culvert bridge installation is much faster.  The overall construction cost is lower.  Also, the finished product is quite durable, standing up for decades. These installations are made entirely of concrete.  As such, they don’t require annual maintenance and will last for many years without concern. They are a more economical and reliable choice when needing to repair or replace a bridge.

Concrete Box Culvert Bridge Construction

Concrete box culvert bridge construction involves the use of concrete formed to create a bridge that will allow water to flow freely through it. In some instances, the box design has an open bottom that allows for no disturbance to occur to the stream-bed at all.  In other cases, using a box culvert allows wildlife to cross under roadways instead of water. However, the goal is always the same – reduce the construction process and future maintenance costs by using box culvert bridges.

Construction companies may form the bridge off site or on site.  Once fabricated, it will need to cure for a period of time before continuing construction. Completing the installation will also require things like site clearing, excavation, and then joining the road over the bridge.

Precast Concrete Box Culvert Installation

Precast concrete box culverts are precisely what they sound like. These are bridges that are precast before they arrive on the installation site. The process begins with initial measurements, through surveying the site.  Those measurements are given to the fabricator, who casts the box culvert accordingly. After a three to four week curing period, the culvert is sent out to the job site. However, since the culverts are often fabricated before the actual project begins, they’re generally ready right when the job calls for them.

Once the culvert bridge is cured, the contractors will deliver it to the job site.  Next, the crews will set the culvert in place using a crane and permanently attach it as dictated by the design. The entire installation process itself is very fast.  In most cases, site prep and follow up steps actually take much longer than the setting of the bridge.

Precast products use numerous designs.  The designer may decide on one, two, or three boxes depending on the bridge span required.  Other options the architect may choose are U-shaped and three-sided arch designs. Which type of precast box culvert the designer chooses depends largely upon the nature of the project and the location of the installation.  Since they are cast before the project begins the installation process is very fast.  This allows bridge construction project completion in weeks instead of months, allowing for faster turnaround times.

Cast-In-Place Box Culvert Construction

Cast-in-place box culvert construction is similar in principle to precast box culvert construction, but with a slightly different installation process.  Instead of being cast elsewhere, the team creates the entire structure on site. The process will generally take longer since the bridge can’t be cast until the crews prepare the site. This will involve clearing and excavating the site, forming the shape of the bridge, placing steel, and pouring the concrete, then allowing it to cure on site. Still, for many jobs, it is the right option – especially when the size and scale of the project makes a precast option unfeasible.

Bridge and Box Culvert Construction Services

At Milestone Companies, we take pride in providing bridge and box culvert construction services for any need. From new construction to repairs and replacements, we can help with design, fabrication, and installation of the box culvert bridge. We have experience with all types of bridge and box culvert projects and are fully licensed and insured.  We have our own equipment to keep installation costs low and complete the project quickly. Check out more information on all our Civil Construction Services.