Bridge vs Culvert
We are all aware of the construction called bridge that is used to circumvent physical obstructions like rivers or other natural structures. A bridge allows easy transport of people and vehicles from one area to another without having to face the hurdles. But, the situation becomes confusing when we talk about another civil engineering construction labeled as culvert. A culvert looks much like a bridge although it is smaller, and does not involve cost in gigantic proportions as is required to make bridges. Let us find out the differences between a culvert and a bridge.
Firstly, a culvert is made to let water pass through an area by making a circular or rectangular passage underneath a structure, whether it is a road or any other physical obstacle. While in earlier times, culverts were mostly made of stone, these days it is common to use, cement, steel, or even PVC to make culverts. A culvert can be circular in shape (semi circular to be precise as there is floor beneath), or it can be rectangular, elliptical or pear shaped. It is when two or more pipes are placed side by side in a culvert so as to enlarge the size up to more than 20 feet that a culvert qualifies to be labeled as a bridge. There have been numerous accidents because of floods disrupting passage of traffic above a culvert and in a few cases, the culvert has collapsed.
Most of the bridges in the world are constructed over rivers or other bodies of water to provide passage to people and vehicles. Despite this similarity, there are differences in design because of differences in terrain as well as materials that are used for the construction of bridges. A culvert has an enveloping structure with a floor, two sides and a roof. A bridge does not have a floor and it sits on foundations along the breadth of the water body.
What is the difference between Bridge and Culvert?
• While culverts are used primarily to allow passage of water across physical obstacles, bridges are formed to provide passage to people and vehicles over large water bodies
• Bridges have no floors, whereas culverts have a floor and are circular, rectangular, elliptical, or even square in size
• When it is hard to distinguish between a culvert and a bridge, the deciding factors are the width of the structure.