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What is the Difference between culvert and bridge

What is Difference between Culvert and Bridge

Most people confuse when asked the What is difference between culvert & bridge. But Most of the people interchange the meaning of these 2 terms. These terms share some similarities but they are very different from each others.

What is Difference between Culvert and Bridge


Culvert having six m or less than six m span between the face of abutments. Culvert is used for the drainage purpose. It is the constructed to carry vehicles over a small stream or canals. Culvert can be constructed by         ( R.C.C ), plastic Concrete, Steel, high density polyethylene, aluminum and etc. it is embedded by soil. Culvert are located under road way or railway used for prevent the flooding & erosion. Culvert is also known as bridge. bridge can be culvert Coz can be used as a culvert but culvert is not used as bridge.

The culvert is used as a road for low range of traffic volume & low speed of vehicles the design of the culvert is based on hydraulic, roadway height, water surface elevation & also some other conditions. Culvert is totally enclosed by ground or soil. Concrete culvert are used mostly in construction site.

In concrete culvert the steel may be used in Concrete but sometimes the steel does not used in the concrete culvert. For providing the culvert the separate embankment should not be constructed. Culvert should be perpendicular to the road way there are some type of culvert which are given below.

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Types of culvert.

There are different types of culvert that is given below

  1. Slab culvert

  2. Box culvert

  3. Single Pipe culvert

  4. Multiple Pipe culvert

  5. Single Arch culvert

  6. Multiple Arch culvert

  7. Bridge culvert

What is the Components of Culvert?

The components of culvert are follow.

  • Top plate

  • Bottom plate

  • Wing wall

  • Corner fillets

  • Crown


A structure used for to carries a roadway or railway over a lake, river, canal, another road and railway etc. a bridge having more than six m. bridges can be constructed in the two ways. Pre-cast and cast in place. Pre-cast means already constructed member of the structure off site. While cast in place means constructed of the structure members on the site. The cost of bridge is more than culvert.

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In the bridge construction different type of materials are used such as Concrete, Steel, timber, brick, stone, aluminum & fiber etc. the components in bridge structure are deck, girder, abutments, pier, pile cap, foundation & pile. The types of bridges are given below.

Types of The Bridge by Structure

The types of the bridge based by structure are given below

  1. Arch bridge

  2. Cable stayed bridge

  3. Truss bridge

  4. Suspension bridge

  5. Beam bridge

  6. Cantilever bridge

Types of the bridge by size

The types of bridge based on size is given below

  • Minor bridge

  • Major bridge

  • Long bridge

Minor bridge

Minor bridge having span between six m to 60 meter.

Major bridge

Major bridge having span more than sixty meter.

Long bridge

Long bridge having span more than one20 meter.

Types of the bridges according to materials

The types of the bridge based on materials are given below

  • concrete

  • Steel

  • Timber

  • RCC

  • Stone

  • Composite

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Types of the bridge according to inter span

The types of the bridge according to inter span are given below

  • Continuous

  • Cantilever

  • Simply supported

Difference between culvert & bridge

There are a lot of difference between culvert & bridge. The difference is given in points below.

S. No




Culverts are not used for the high speed velocity.

Bridges are used for the high speed vehicles


Culverts are constructed when water is passes through tunnel or channel under the road way.

Bridges are constructed when water flow is variable & larger in volume.


Culverts may be constructed on the site but mostly pre-constructed.

Bridges are constructed on the site or pre-constructed the small parts of the bridges. 


The foundation of the culvert is not deep.

The foundation of the bridges is deep because it is used to support heavy loads.


The span of the culvert is six meter or less than six meter.

The span of bridges more than six meter.


The structure of the culvert are enclosed it may be rectangular, arch circular & half circle etc.

A bridge is straight & linear.


Culvert are usually embedded in the soil.

In bridges the pier & abutments are the supporting members of the bridge.


The component of the culvert are simpler & includes pipes, slab, top decks, wing wall, bottom plate, top plate, crown, corner fillets and etc.

The components of the bridge are super structure, sub structure & deck


Culvert are used for to prevent from flood, water logging, erosion & passes water under road way or railway.

Bridges are used for transportation & passes of vehicles.


The cost of the culverts is lower than bridge because of its span & some other reason.

The cost of the culvert are more than culvert because of its span & used for heavy loads


The design of the culvert are simple

The design of  the bridge are complex than culvert


In the construction of culvert less labor or man power is required

In the construction of bridge skilled labor & more man power is required than culvert construction.


The main objective of this article What is the Differences between culvert & bridge is that the span of the culvert is Six meter or less than Six meter & also total cost is low while the span of the bridges more than Six meters having high cost.

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So Dear Members I have written all About the difference between culvert & bridge as much as I know. If this article is helpful and Informative for Civil Engineers, Please do share it with your Similiers Members & leave a comments.

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About Raja Junaid Iqbal

Hi My name is Raja Junaid Iqbal and i am Land Surveyor by Profession but I've specialized in the field of Q,S and land development. As Professional Surveyor I engaged my self in all over the Gulf since 14 years.

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