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Should joints in box culverts and channels be completely watertight?

The joints for box culverts and channels should be capable of accommodating movements arising from temperature and moisture changes. However, the joints are not necessarily designed as watertight except the following conditions:

(i) There is a high possibility of occurrence of high water table in the vicinity of box culverts/channels. The high groundwater level and rainwater seepage through embankment may cause water passing through the joints and washing in soils. Consequently, the loss of soils may lead to the failure of the structures.

(ii) If the box culvert/channels are designed in such a way that water flow through joints from the structures causes the washing out of bedding materials, the requirement of watertightness of joint has to be fulfilled.


(iii) In cold countries, road salt is sometimes applied on roads above box culvert or at crossings of channels to prevent freezing and thawing. The leaching of road salts into the joints may cause corrosion of joint reinforcement.

This question is taken from book named – A Self Learning Manual – Mastering Different Fields of Civil Engineering Works (VC-Q-A-Method) by Vincent T. H. CHU.

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Kanwarjot Singh

Kanwarjot Singh is the founder of Civil Engineering Portal, a leading civil engineering website which has been awarded as the best online publication by CIDC. He did his BE civil from Thapar University, Patiala and has been working on this website with his team of Civil Engineers.

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