How to put in a culvert?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by cc-rider, Jul 16, 2004.

  1. cc-rider

    cc-rider Baroness of TisaWee Farm Supporter

    Jul 29, 2003
    flatlands of Ohio - sigh
    Maybe that isn't the right terminology.

    If I have property, but to get to it I need to cross a small ditch.... do I put in a "culvert"?

    Seems like the neighbors put a small tile on the ground at the bottom of the ditch... maybe 1' in diameter or so and as wide as the driveway. And then covered it with something. Stone maybe? With soil on top?? And then blacktopped it.

    Can I use BIG stones for the bottom layers? And then finer stone to fill in? And I only want a stone driveway....

    Is this a do-it-yourself project??

    Chris in W.Central Ohio
  2. Tractorman

    Tractorman Well-Known Member

    Jun 8, 2004
    Yes that is all I done. Mine is a road connection so the county had to tell me what size culvert to put in. All I did was put the culvert in the ditch and cover with rocks I used all the same size. I think you want at least 4" of rock cover to help distibute the weight on the culvert.

  3. mud

    mud Guest

    If you are crossing the ditch on the side of a state maintained road and the ditch is in the state's easement, the state may do the work for you. In VA, all you have to do is call the state DOT and they will come to see what size pipe is required. You go buy the pipe and they will install it and lay gravel - but only between the road and the edge of the easement. You'd have to check what the rules in your state are, though.
  4. If this is crossing a 'road ditch' you need to talk to the county or state to find out how big it needs to be, and if they do it for you or if you can do it yourself.

    If this is crossing a water-filled ditch, then you need to talk to a government agency in your county seat, one of the water, land, or zoning offices - any will tell you the right one to go to - to find out how big the culvert needs to be. In some cases if this is a natural stream you may have more restrictions on how you change the water flow....

    Please do the above. Things can get real nasty if you back up water with a too-small culvert, & they have to rebuild it & bill you for the job....

    Then, a cuvert depends upon smallish gravel surrounding it to compress evenly & keep it strong. You do _not_ want large or even medium rocks against the culvert. They will squash it. You also do not want a layer of large rocks that water can seep through - the water will go through the rock openings & carry dirt away, instead of going through the culvert. Eventually the ground will sink away. I would sooner fill with just dirt than to fill with large rocks. You can certainly riprap each side with bigger rocks (place big rocks on each end to preven fast water from tearing out dirt/gravel).

    You want at least a foot of dirt on top of the culvert, a bigger culvert will need more dirt on top. Again, they depend upon the dirt to push evenly on all sides to remain strong. If you only have a couple inches of dirt on top, the big truck going over the top will squish it. a foot or 2 of dirt will spread the load from the truck tires to more surface area of the culvert, & keep it strong.

    But I'm just a simple dirt farmer, no expert on culverts.

    I do know they are really weak until you get the dirt packed evenly on all sides of them......

  5. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    May 10, 2002
    May I ask you you folks got the pipe to the property? It will NOT fit in the back of my pickup, it's WAAY too long! :eek: :haha:
  6. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

    May 22, 2003
    Zone 7
    You are obviously buying either the plastic or metal corrugated. I suggest that you buy the concrete culverts and bring them home one or two at a time in the pickup. The concrete will last much longer and are priced about the same if you do not buy the re-enforced ones. You will want the concrete culverts installed at a depth that you will have 4 inches minimum of fill over the top of the culvert.
  7. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

    May 20, 2004
    SE Missouri
    A trick that an old rancher shared with me once:
    Take a good heavy length of chain. It needs to be at least the length of the culvert. Put it thru the culvert and fasten it down on both ends. Make sure you have a way to hook it to a cable. When the culvert fills with dirt and you need to clean it out you hook the cable to the back of your pickup and pull the chain thru. Then you hook up to the cable on the other end of the chain and pull it back thru. Notice that you MUST have a cable at each end that is longer than the culvert. You don't want to be fishing for it. You have to to this BEFORE the culvert fills with dirt.
  8. I was thinking (scary thought, huh??!).... obviously the culvert is wider at the bottom than at the top. What keeps the top stone or dirt from squishing down the sides and just making the culvert fatter, but shorter?

    In other words, how do I keep the stone ON TOP? All the neighbors have blacktopped driveways over their culverts, and I assume that keeps the stuff where it is supposed to be, but I only want stone. Will it keep getting shoved off the sides and have to be replaced constantly?

    By the way.... this is a dry ditch, I'm not worried about things washing away. Looks like the neighbors only have maybe 12" pipes....