Culvert Washed Out in Recent Storm

Culvert Washed Out in Recent Storm

Last night, we had a strong thunderstorm, and the culvert flowing through the Oxbow feeding the canal was washed out.

The ‘bridge’ over the culvert is the old towpath for the original canal. The water flows from Minerva Deland school playing fields into The Oxbow Lake.

This structure been recently refurbished using plastic pipes, as the old ones were rusted out.

Seeing as how this is a new repair, how did this happen after only ONE heavy storm?

It’s the overall design that is at fault. These small pipes simply dam up the exit with debris that naturally falls into flooding streams. IMG_3729

The water can’t escape, and so it flows over the top of the trail.

The next problem is that no rip-rap or concrete barrier was placed on the upstream side of the trail, so scouring of the gravel took place.

Small particle size gravel was used as fill over the pipes. This tactic was used before and rocks about 6″ – 8″ were used, and these washed out.

After every rain storm, The Town of Perinton staff visit and remove the debris. Unfortunately, they don’t take it away, and leave on the side of the culvert, where it washes back  and clogs the pipes  again.

Perhaps the answer is to remove these pipes and simply replace them with a wooden footbridge? There would be much less maintenance and it would prevent motorized vehicles from accessing the trail?

This is a classic case of a culvert becoming clogged with debris and subsequently over-topping.  It just took one thunderstorm.  Imagine if this had been on a canal embankment dam culvert or spillway. The dam overflows and the soil is easily washed out – scouring.  A couple of hours of this and an embankment dam would fail.


Updating this post July 24th 2018

Last night’s heavy rainstorm caused more damage to our culvert. Much soil was eroded from one side where the culvert is lined with concrete. Scouring has occurred behind the wall, which will eventually collapse.IMG_3840

Another hole has appeared more centrally and a great deal of gravel has been washed away.



A lot of bedrock is now exposed at the upstream side of the culvert tubes, and of course, they are partially blocked by debris.

I would guess that another rainstorm will wash out the area completely. At least it  will make pipe removal a simple process!

UPDATE 8 14 2018

A huge rainstorm washed out the rip-rap, pipes and gravel completely today.


UPDATE 8 15 2018

All traces of bridge – gone!


Here’s the old pipes.

The New York Power Authority (new  owners of the Erie Canal Corporation) have  risen to the occasion and started to repair the bridge/culvert running under Oxbow Rd.  The road is actually the old towpath which runs alongside the old original canal, which can be clearly seen between the playing field and the path.

Here are some photos I took yesterday of the works progression.

The rusty old culvert pipes have been dug up, and replaced with rot proof plastic pipes.

I imagine there are many more culverts along the canal in this poor condition which need replacing. It’s good to see the NYPA jumped on this problem, and has the where-with-all  to properly fund these projects.  The Canal Corporation’s lack of funding over the years is why these problems exist.

What is concerning is, if steel pipes are commonly used in culverts across The State, then there are many areas where there is considerable danger from this deterioration. Water flowing rapidly through a holed pipe will cause the soil to be sucked out, creating voids for sinkholes, but also makes channels along the pipe where severe erosion can take place.

You can see the general state  of these culverts as per previous inspection reports.

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