Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Civil Engineering


The development of modern roadways has been regarded as one of the most outstanding accomplishments of the past generation. It has created a society of greater mobility than any of its ancestors. The massive stretches of freeways, expressways, and turnpikes are omnipresent, testifying to a modernization of man that was inconceivable fifty years ago. The design of such trafficways was of no mere coincidence. Millions of dollars and man-hours have been expended on the creation of this vast transportation complex. Continual improvements and new ideas have evolved the highway from rugged wagon trails to its present place of eminence. Included in the host of changes occurring in highway construction is the development of gigantic embankments or grade separations that facilitate building level roadbeds. The improvement also accelerated problems in drainage of natural watercourses that highways intercept and has led to renewed research on two common modes of highway drainage, culverts and bridges. Culverts and bridges could be considered similar to fitted connections between two pipes--they join the natural waterways on both sides of a road and pass the water from one section to the other. The, variety of such hydraulic structures seems to be enormous. Culverts especially provide such assorted designs of shape, inlet and outlet geometry, headwalls, head and tail water conditions, wing walls, and so forth.To summarize the multiple configurations a culvert could possibly be designed with would be difficult, if not impossible. The generalization of the culvert's hydraulic properties is somewhat easier to summarize and present in a concise manner. A culvert is provided on a highway where a natural watercourse is necessarily interrupted by an embankment, commonly referred to as a grade separation. It intercepts the flow from the natural condition which is frequently a wide, shallow waterway and transports the flow through the embankment to the receiving channel. To provide for economical transport, the culvert is usually designed so that the flow at the upstream side of the road forms a pond.

Library of Congress Subject Headings



South Dakota State University Theses



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South Dakota State University