Updating a Small Culvert

Close to the cabin we have a large rise between our living areas and the front of the property.  Skirting alongside this rise is our driveway.  Where the driveway meets the rise, there is a very small ditch which has so far collected spring runoff and held it there for most of the summer.  I suspect that this helps generate many of the mosquitoes which plague us during the hottest days of the year.

Near our garage/workshop Grandpa had previously installed a makeshift culvert out of a length of pipe, a length of downspout, and a joint made from a Ziploc baggie.  It was very shallow, and over the course of this past winter, it finally worked its way to the surface of the driveway where we began passing directly over it.  It worked okay, but clearly could use some upgrading.

I had previously brought home some 2″ ABS pipe from the dump for “future projects”, and the future was now…  I only had to invest in a proper coupling for a few dollars and I would have a culvert of sufficient length to deal with our driveway.

Kenny and Donna were both eager to join in on this project, so we all headed down to the garage to plot our concept.

I definitely wanted to dig up the length of pipe that had heaved through the surface of the driveway.  That went very quickly.

After that though, I wanted to adjust the direction of the spout, so that it wasn’t on such an angle.  This would let me use a shorter length of culvert/pipe, but would also allow me to ignore the section of downspout that was buried deeper in the driveway.  I decided to simply abandon this pipe rather than remove it.

We started digging a nice, straight path across the driveway, beginning at the garage, or lower side of the driveway and working our way over to the opposite and higher side.

Grandpa inspects our work.

Soon we had dug a trench that was clearly much lower than the original pipe, and was quite close to joining up with the standing water in the ditch beside our driveway.

The excitement builds!

With great excitement we finally broke through the wall, and a large gush of water began to flow through our trench.  It was surprising just how much water can be stored over such a large area, even if it isn’t particularly deep.

Still lots of water flowing!

As the flow evened out, we glued the two lengths of pipe together and rolled it into our trench.  I placed our largest excavated rock on the high end of the pipe, and we began to back fill around it.

Time to put in the new culvert!

Made to fit!
A large rock to hold it
 in place.

Water ran through it at a good clip for the next twenty four hours, before it dropped to more of a small stream and eventually a trickle.

Meanwhile, downstream…

Two or three weeks later, and I brought up a small load of extra gravel from my pile to fill in the depression that seems to have developed over the new culvert.  That was easily enough accomplished and a small price to pay.

On the plus side, the high side of the driveway is…  high and dry!

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