This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

The Development of a Decision Algorithm to Aid in the Selection of Pipe Material for Cross-Drainage Application




Tocci, Megan

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Civil Engineering


The Code of Federal Regulations effectively limited allowable culvert materials to reinforced concrete pipe and corrugated steel pipe on Federal-aided projects. Angered by the exclusion, the plastics industry lobbied congress demanding equal consideration be given to plastic pipe. In 2012, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act was signed into law. The Act granted states the authority to designate which culvert materials could be used on Federal-aided projects. Input or approval from the Federal Highway Administration would not be necessary. The field performance of plastic pipes has not been thoroughly established. Yet, State departments are required to comply with Federal Regulations regarding plastic pipe. This thesis serves as a guideline to the Alabama Department of Transportation in the selection of culvert materials for cross-drainage application. The material properties, serviceability, and durability of the following culvert materials are critically analyzed: reinforced concrete, aluminized steel, galvanized steel, high density polyethylene, and polypropylene.