Building A Driveway Culvert

The driveway for our mountain property leads off of a private dirt and gravel road, which has seen better days.  When we signed the escrow papers to buy our property, we were informed that this was a private road and each landowner along the road was responsible for maintenance of said road.  Unfortunately there are more unimproved lots along our private road than there are residences, so there are less people (less money, muscle and equipment) to help maintain the road.

Here is a picture of the ditch that runs alongside our property and the road.  You can also see the mini canyon caused by the rain run-off.

Here is a picture of the ditch that runs alongside our property and the road. You can also see the mini canyon caused by the rain run-off.  The hillside doesn’t look very pretty because we are in the midst of clearing it for a fire break.  When that is all cleared, we want to plant pomegranates single file, about fifteen feet apart, to give the frontage a clean, fire safe and pretty appearance.

One issue of any dirt and gravel road that is on a slope is run-off.  Our road is not graded correctly and does not have a crown in the middle, so sometimes during a heavy storm we have miniature grand canyon develop down the middle of the road.  This isn’t too much of a problem for us because we are the second lot and almost at the top of the hill for this road.  But for the people who have land and residences further down the road, their passage has actually been prevented by the muddy mini-canyons caused by the run-off.  In fact, there have been several times in the last few years that only a four-wheel-drive vehicle can travel the length of the road.

We have a ditch that runs the length of our property alongside the road and have to periodically re-dig the ditch to maintain drainage on our side of the property.  However, where the driveway leads from the road into our property, the ditch was pretty much nonexistent.  This lead to run-off causing even more of a problem to the road below our driveway.  This is the way it was when we bought the property, so we decided to fix that problem by placing a culvert under the driveway.

Once the ditch was dug deep enough, we laid the culvert and then covered it with 8-12 inches of dirt.

Once the ditch was dug deep enough, we laid the culvert and then covered it with 10-12 inches of dirt.  The soil is heavy clay, so our back and biceps got a real workout!

The hardest part was digging out all the dirt and rock to be able to place the culvert.  The soil here is heavy clay and when the clay is mixed with rock and then driven over, and over again – well, let’s just say we were exhausted when the entire ditch was dug out!  We placed 8″ diameter heavy-duty plastic culvert in the 30 foot long ditch.  Then we threw the dirt back over the culvert, burying it about 10-12 inches underground.  Then more rock went over that.  Whew!

After the culvert was laid and buried by about 8-12 inches of dirt, we spread out a truck load of rock.

After the culvert was laid and buried by about 8-12 inches of dirt, we spread out several truck loads of rock.  This was the first truck load.

A few weekends later we decided we didn’t want to leave the plastic ends exposed because we knew that sooner or later someone was going to slip off the road or cut across the driveway, hit the culvert and crush it, or break it, or destroy it in some manner.  Also, even though it did the job, it certainly wasn’t very pretty.  So we decided to cover the last 3 feet of each end of culvert with concrete.  Not only would this preserve the culvert, but it made a nice solid border to our driveway and would also prevent a lot of rock falling from the driveway into the ditch.

Here is the box Ray devised to enclose the plastic culvert in concrete.  We went heaviest with the concrete at the top so it wouldn't get crushed.

Here is the box Ray devised to enclose the plastic culvert in concrete. We went heaviest with the concrete at the top so it wouldn’t get crushed.  This is the right side of the culvert.

Essentially all Ray had to do was build a box around the culvert, leaving about 4-6 inches on the sides and about 8-10 inches on the top for the concrete.  He blocked off the end with a solid board so concrete couldn’t get into the culvert itself.  A few sacks of cement was all that was necessary, and now we have a solid (and kind of pretty, I might say) culvert under our driveway.  This sure made our down-the-road neighbors happy!

Here is the culvert finished with the protective concrete ends.  Isn't it pretty?

Here is the left side culvert finished with the protective concrete ends. Isn’t it pretty? Now all we needed was some more rock.

My only question now is: I wonder how many critters are living inside that culvert?

Shared at: Simple Living Wednesday; Wildcrafting Wednesday; Healthy 2day Wednesdays; Wicked Good Wednesday; Home and Garden Thursday; The HomeAcre Hop #20; Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways; Natural Living Link-Up; The Creative HomeAcre Hop

 

 

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Building A Driveway Culvert

  1. What alot of work…I got tired just READING about it! 🙂 seriously the soil in my area is clay and when i bought my house about 10 years ago there was nary a bush or tree or flower in sight. So over the years I did alot of digging here in heavy clay soil and it was exhausting. What you folks are doing is phenomenal! 🙂

    • Yes, it has been a lot of work, but well worth it. When we put in our permanent raised bed gardens, we will use some native soil, but also a lot of compost and mulch, etc.. Thanks for the encouragement, I appreciate it. Also, thanks for stopping by and commenting! Have a great weekend. Vickie

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