Is it OK to backfill culverts with material dug out from around an old pipe?

We are looking to reduce costs for some culvert replacement this spring, where can we find some savings with material(s)? Is it OK to backfill culverts with the same material we dug out from around the old pipe?We are looking to reduce costs for some culvert replacement this spring, where can we find some savings with material(s)? Is it OK to backfill culverts with the same material we dug out from around the old pipe?

Yes, this will not only save money, but reduces frost heaving issues during the winter.

If you do have to use new material, be sure to include hauling costs when you shop around for the best price. Reusing the material removed from the original culvert trench line excavated during the removal of the old culvert might be the most logical means of cutting additional expenses. It is however, important that the material is structurally sound, granular and not saturated. Granular wet soils may require the addition of a good granular material to “dry out” the existing material to allow for proper compaction.

The material used for backfill should be free from large materials, easy to compact, and stable under load. Sand, fine crusher run, and gravel are all good materials to use. If sand and erodible materials are used, the ends must be protected to keep the sand from washing or piping.

Using the existing material will reduce the problems of heaving in the winter. The old material will heave at the same rate after a new pipe is installed. Clean new material may not heave and if the rest of the road heaves in the winter, a bump may form.

Resources

Cover of the Roadway and Roadside Drainage

Roadway and Roadside Drainage (pdf)
CLRP workshop manual

CLRP Tech Assistance logo

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