Readers Branch Subdivision, Section 4

About the project

The Readers Branch subdivision in Goochland County, Virginia is a community of new construction homes, walking trails, parks and communal spaces.

Culvert Design Challenges

Early in the engineering design of Readers Branch Section 4, it was clear to Eagle Construction that the proposed creek crossing would present not only engineering challenges but construction challenges as well.

Access to the creek was limited to only one side of the property and topography presented the greatest challenge. The existing grade at the top of the hill was a 220 foot elevation and the grade of the creek was a 175 foot elevation occurring over a distance of 125 feet.

Based on the storm water calculations, the initially designed 9-foot by 8-foot box culverts could weigh as much 30,000 pounds for each 8-foot section.

Multiple cranes were going to be required to move and install the box culverts. The installation was shaping up to be a logistical nightmare and a real concern for constructability given the topographic and access challenges.

Corrugated Metal Pipe Substituted for Concrete Box Culverts

Eagle Construction’s Chris Simons, Director of Field Operations, presented these challenges to our team at Colonial Construction Materials. Eagle Construction and Colonial Construction Materials have worked together on dozens of projects in Richmond, Virginia including the installation of a subsurface corrugated metal stormwater system for a small subdivision in Glen Allen.

We recommended that Eagle Construction explore the option of using corrugated metal pipe (CMP) in lieu of the traditional concrete box culverts in order to overcome the installation challenges. The design change required 440 Linear Feet of 138-inch (11.5-foot) Diameter 10GA Corrugated Metal Pipe.

Once Eagle’s team started exploring this option, they found that CMP could be installed using conventional construction equipment and practices. Additionally, the cost to construct the triple culvert would decrease by 15%.

The decision was made to implement CMP into the engineer design and “needless to say, it was the right choice,” says Simons.

Simons goes on to explain the benefits of the CMP culverts:

“Installation of the 138” triple culverts was seamless and efficient. The lighter weight material allowed us to overcome all of the topographic and installation challenges that Readers Branch presented. Utilizing conventional excavators and loaders for the job coupled by the simple assemblage of the pipes turned what was once a nightmare scenario into one of the simplest creek crossings we have ever encountered.”

Chris Simons, Director of Field Operations at Eagle Construction

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