Culverts offer a means of transportation for traffic over waterway areas. However, as culverts age, there’s a chance of headwall failure, leading to increased drainage pipe damage, erosion, and potential inlet or outlet collapses. Let’s discuss why city headwall maintenance is crucial for longevity and safety.

What Must Headwalls Provide?

Headwalls consist of precast concrete or steel structures, providing wings and a bottom to help the existing soil deflect water away from the area.

In addition to preventing soil erosion and turbulent stormwater scouring, headwalls support railways, roadways, and bridges by anchoring the culvert. Headwalls also prevent the culvert from experiencing dangerous movements resulting from soil and hydraulic pressures. Lastly, they can limit plant growth and prevent pipe blockages.

Headwall Inspection Expectations

Headwalls are made from steel and various precast materials, including concrete, plastic, or stonework. Therefore, regular headwall maintenance is crucial, as it allows for early structural damage detection before deteriorating conditions contribute to strength and integrity issues. Headwall inspection should occur on an annual basis when water levels remain low.

Headwall inspection reviews the structural integrity of the system, the seal between the pipe and headwall, and existing debris or plant growth. The pipe seal protects the pipe’s outlet or inlet from damage and water intrusion. Regularly scheduled preventative maintenance focused on clearing away plant growth and debris from the culvert pipe barrel is another critical component.

Understanding Headwall Repairs

The scope of damage can impact the repairs needed for headwalls. The damage can range from small cracks to complete replacements. Small cracks are easy to repair using concrete patching compounds, mortar, or epoxy.

If proactive maintenance isn’t occurring, headwalls can become too damaged for repairs, and a replacement must occur. Therefore, it’s crucial to inspect structures before they reach this condition. This reinforces the necessity to partner with a reliable culvert rehabilitation solutions provider with extensive knowledge in various repair solutions.

At InfraSteel, our culvert rehabilitation systems help support railways and bridges while improving hydraulic waterway systems. Our focus is to provide consistently high-quality steel pipe systems and service our customers with supportive and reputable solutions. Our wing wall culvert solutions help maximize upstream hydraulics and stabilize inlet soil conditions, as each headwall and wing wall system meets InfraSteel 242 specifications for durable and reliable performance. Contact us today for more information regarding our culvert rehabilitation systems.