Hydraulic Crossings: A More Sustainable Approach

Kevin Williams, Atlantic Industries Limited
Topic Area
Sustainability and Resilience in Transportation Systems

Historically, hydraulic crossings such as culverts and buried structures have been sized based on one decision: conveying water from one side of the road to the other. This practice still dominates today despite infrastructure being faced with increased stress such as increasing environmental regulations, biodiversity concerns, and climate change.

This presentation discusses a more sustainable approach for sizing hydraulic structures. One that considers biodiversity needs, climate change, increases transportation network's resilience, and reduces owner maintenance. For example, one such approach considers sizing structures as a function of bank width and hydraulic conveyance rather than purely on hydraulic conveyance. Regions which have used the bank full width criteria have observed that at least 60% of the culvert sizing problems have dissipated, thereby lowering maintenance cost, societal disruptions, and increasing transportation network resilience.

The presentation will overview important decisions when designing a hydraulic crossing and covers design, maintenance and biodiversity perspectives such as:

1)Whether to use open (arch) or closed bottom (pipe) structures
2)Debris management options such as structure alignment, sizing, or protection racks
3)Hydraulic sizing criteria
4)Biodiversity sizing criteria
5)Resilience design criteria

The presentation will conclude with standard recommendations intended to help practitioners achieve more sustainable hydraulic crossings.

Abstract Keywords
hydraulic crossings
bank width