U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations
|Project Name:||Development of a Field Prototype for the Inspection of Culverts|
|Start Date:||July 29, 2010|
|End Date:||April 30, 2013|
|Office:||Office of Infrastructure Research and Development|
|Team:||Hazard Mitigation Team [HRDI-50]|
|Program:||Exploratory Advanced Research|
|Laboratory:||J. Sterling Jones Hydraulics Laboratory|
|Roadmap/Focus area(s):||Infrastructure Research and Technology Strategic Plan and Roadmap|
|Project Description:||The Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC) J. Sterling Jones Hydraulics Research Laboratory has been working with the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) to develop a system prototype for inspecting culverts. The prototype system consists of an ultrasonic-based tethered system designed to display the images of culverts, and works both in air and in water. The work has been funded through the Exploratory Advanced Research (EAR) Program. The initial proof-of-concept phase of the project was completed on August 4th, 2011 with the demonstration of technology to a wide audience at the TFHRC J. Sterling Jones Hydraulics Research Laboratory. Phase II development of field prototype unit was completed on April 30, 2013.|
Both Phase I (proof of concept) and Phase II (field prototype development) have been completed. The objective of Phase II was the development of two units suitable for field implementation. While the field prototypes were useful for partially filled culverts, their manual skid-based transport mechanism was not proven to be practical for dry or fully filled culverts. As such, the government is considering a separate funding mechanism for the development of a rover/propulsion transport mechanism(s) for the dry and fully inundated culverts.
|Background Information:||Thousands of culvert pipes are damaged every year in large rain events or in floods. The costs to repair and/or replace culverts can often be in the millions due to the costs for detouring/impacting traffic, providing mitigation for environmental impacts, additional habitat or stream restoration as well as other miscellaneous preliminary engineering, right of way, and construction costs. Applications for an effective culvert inspection technology could be far reaching as a practical and inexpensive tool for Federal, State, and local agencies in their efforts to monitor, maintain, and catch repairable damage early.|
|Test Methodology:||The work shall be performed by a delivery order modification in accordance to the following tasks: (1) Modifications of the existing water-floatable probe with the addition of optical sensors, a winch with distance wheel, a water-resistant field computer, and a self- contained sensor with improved sensor layout and three-dimensional imaging capability. (2) Creation of an inexpensive rover/skid/pulley transport system for dry culverts. (3) Technology demonstration and lab and field training at Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (followed by field trials). (4) Creation of a commercialization plan. (5) System revisions and final report.|
|Expected Benefits:||Thousands of culvert pipes are damaged every year in large rain events or in floods. The costs to repair and/or replace culverts can often be in the millions due to the costs for detouring/impacting traffic, providing mitigation for environmental impacts, additional habitat or stream restoration as well as other miscellaneous preliminary engineering, right of way, and construction costs. Applications for an effective culvert inspection technology could be far reaching as a practical and inexpensive tool for Federal, State, and local agencies in their efforts to monitor, maintain, and catch repairable damage early. The results of this research in an advanced culvert inspection system will benefit the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), all State departments of transportation (DOT), counties, cities, and other public and private engineering and design organizations (TRB, 2011). Malfunctioning culverts could result in water-on-highway surfaces or the creation of subsurface voids, ultimately leading to roadway collapse; the public safety interest is at stake.|
|Deliverables:||1. Name: Federal Highway Administration Culvert Inspection System.|
Product Type(s): Research report, Article, Promotional materials, Hardware
Description: Two field prototype systems with an operation manual.
2. Name: Federal Highway Administration Culvert Inspection System.
Product Type(s): Research report, Technical report, Training materials
Description: Product demo, training, field/lab testing, and the final study report.
|FHWA Topics:||Research/Technologies--Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC)|
|TRT Terms:||Bridges and Culverts
|Subject Areas:||Bridges and other structures
Hydraulics and Hydrology
Maintenance and Preservation