01 March 2019

Why choose a Multiplate culvert?

Quick and easy to install with proven durability, Multiplate structures consist of field bolted galvanised steel or aluminium plates that have a long history of strength, longevity and economy.

A senior industry engineer recently commented, “I have used Multiplate structures for 40 odd years and my view is that they are a good product and are a very cost effective and reliable option when specified correctly. Soil conditions must be taken into account. They can be very cost effective particularly for local authorities who are always under budget pressure.”

The versatility of Multiplate structures is limited only by engineering inventiveness. Their traditional uses include culverts - small and large, bridges, storm drains, pedestrian and stock underpasses. However other applications include mine and tunnel portal protection, conveyor housings, water tanks, caissons, underground storage facilities and even wineries.

The ease of installation of Multiplate structures offers very real benefits to specifiers in both standard and difficult situations. The easily handled corrugated plate system can be erected on-site - an ideal solution for remote areas where access is difficult - or delivered to site fully assembled if access and transport regulations allow, where fast job completion is vital.

Multiplate structures derive their strength through the interaction of the surrounding backfill. The design and supervision of this should be conducted by an experienced engineer. A site engineer should ensure that assumptions made at the design stage are present on site and that backfilling is in accordance with the specification.

A cost efficient culvert option …

  • Short construction period and easy to install on-site
  • Compared with a concrete structure the average duration can be shortened by 60%
  • Light weight means significantly less transport charges - approximately 10% of the weight of concrete culverts
  • Fast construction for emergency work - flood reconstruction works, temporary bridges and footpaths
  • A shorter construction period reduces grievances caused by the construction.

And …

  • They offer a long service life – when specified correctly
  • They reduce the cost of repairing the surrounding environment
  • All steel or aluminium is used, reducing wastage
  • A range of profiles is available to suit most situations.

When used as a buried bridge structure offers …

  • Reduced maintenance and lower life cycle costs as there are no bridge deck or joints at the deck/roadway interface
  • Fast installation results in reduced overall project costs, delays and detours
  • Easy site adaptability with flexible layout options - curve the structure with a stream or adjust for vertical and horizontal clearance requirements.

“During the 70s we used a lot of Aluminium culverts and they have performed very well,” adds the senior industry engineer. “Even using steel, which is designed to rust over time but remains structural sound, is a far cheaper option, with its 50 year design life, than concrete as we can then use a sleeve repair which could extend it for another 50 years. They are still far cheaper and are well performing culvert options.”

“There really needs to be a far greater awareness of when and where Multiplate is suitable for use. When specified correctly, they can be a very cost effective reliable culvert option. They are a useful tool to have in your toolbox of options. It really is horses for courses and people really need to investigate them as an option before making a decision.”

For more information on Multiplate culverts >