Culvert lining carried out under busy Utah interstate

Sept. 7, 2016

Last August, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) released its long-range plan to address transportation needs in rural Utah over the next 25 years. The plan focused primarily on rural areas of the state and identified projects presumed to strengthen the state’s economy and enhance the quality of life for residents.

“Utah has been on the leading edge of culvert rehabilitation over the past several years. They have been proactive in identifying problem culvert structures and establishing either methods of repair or replacement,” said Russ Wosk, sales representative with Snap-Tite.

Several years ago, UDOT determined that Interstate 15 north of Salt Lake City near Brigham City was in need of improvements including widening, resurfacing and several drainage improvements. Along the 12-mile stretch of interstate, more than 200 concrete metal pipe culverts were identified as needing rehabilitation. Since most of these culverts are under several feet of fill and go under a very busy highway, digging up and replacing these would have been a massive inconvenience to the motoring public, not to mention extremely costly in both time and money.

UDOT needed a solution that kept traffic moving and a method that could be completed concurrent with other aspects of the overall project. Whitaker Construction handled the job and decided on Snap-Tite for the repairs. Using Snap-Tite allowed the contractor to quickly repair the culverts without impeding traffic or other construction work on the roadway.

A large majority of the culverts had drainage boxes located in the median between the north and south lanes of the highway. The crew simply pushed the Snap-Tite pipe all the way through to the other side and then came back through and cut pieces out in order to make room for the boxes to work. “In some cases, the boxes were off-center,” Woss explained. “The contractor had to push the pipe from both sides.” Another issue was that the culverts were part of an irrigation system used by local farmers to water their properties. In many cases, the water could not be shut off. That alone limited the type of liners that could be used to rehabilitate the culverts.

Snap-Tite is made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe. Unlike other commonly used piping materials, HDPE will not corrode or leak, creating a culvert that will last for decades upon decades. A unique feature of Snap-Tite is that it does not require fusion to join the HDPE pipe together. The patented male/female machining at each end of the HDPE allows the pipe ends to be ‘snapped’ together piece-by-piece and pushed into the full length of the existing pipe. Because of the mechanical joint, the water continuing to flow through the pipe was not an issue.

The ease of installation allowed the contractor to quickly install Snap-Tite. At some points, the crew was installing up to 300 ft per hour. Snap-Tite provided more than 12,000 ft of 20-in. Snap-Tite pipe, more than 1,000 ft of 30-in. Snap-Tite and more than 800 other miscellaneous sizes as needed.

Prior to this project, Whitaker Construction had never used the Snap-Tite product. Typically, they would choose a cured-in-place pipe (CIPP). “We are now true believers in Snap-Tite,” said Ken Hamson, the project manager. “Snap-Tite saved us time and money over CIPP and that was invaluable.”

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