The National Academies

NCHRP 20-07/Task 264 [Completed]

Guidance for Design and Selection of Pipes
[ NCHRP 20-07 (Research for AASHTO Standing Committee on Highways) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $100,000
Research Agency: E. L. Robinson Engineering
Principal Investigator: Kevin White
Effective Date: 6/22/2009
Completion Date: 4/30/2011
Comments: Completed final report submitted to AASHTO.

In recent years, new pipe materials have been introduced on the market. The pipe industry is placing increasing pressure on DOTs to allow the use of their products for highway applications, claiming their products’ competency.  In many cases, the performance of these pipe materials has not been verified by credible independent scientific analysis.  Some pipe installations are failing prematurely because of pipe material degradation.  The cost of repairing or replacing failing pipes can be many times the initial installation costs.  Three main hindrances exist nationally for selecting a good pipe material type:


  1. Lack of unified, unbiased pipe material selection guidance:
  2. Lack of defined engineering approach to pipe selection:
  3. Insuffcient tracking of the performance of existing culvert installations

The objective of this research is to develop a recommended standard for selecting pipe materials based on sound, scientific research to meet transportation needs for providing durable, safe and economical products.


The scope of the proposed project includes the following tasks:

1.        Perform a literature research of relevant scientific studies on pipes and pipe material performance.

2.        Critically review the results of completed national and state –funded and other pertinent research.

3.        Review standards and practices for selecting pipe materials in the United States, Europe, and other pertinent sources.

4.        Develop recommendations for practice in the selection of pipe materials based on current knowledge as determined in steps 1, 2, and 3 above.

5.        Make recommendations for additional research needed to develop national guidance for selecting pipe material types and for evaluating new pipe products for long-term performance.

6.        Develop approaches and recommendations for managing/monitoring culvert inventories. 

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