An Evaluation of Bituminized Fiber Pipe Culverts

Report No: 70-R5

Published in 1970

About the report:

This report describes the results to date in a limited study, including laboratory tests and field evaluations, of the suitability of bituminized fiber pipe for use as highway culverts. Crushing strength data obtained from three-edge bearing tests indicate that bituminized fiber culverts, as currently produced, are not as strong as, and should not be considered an alternate to, plain concrete pipe. A need exists for a strength specification for bituminized fiber pipe in practical culvert diameters. Bituminized fiber pipe offers relative ease of handling and installation in comparison to concrete and steel culverts of equivalent diameter, but the observance of proper installation practices is apparently critical. The field test installations have served adequately under moderate loading conditions for periods as long as seven years, including five years' exposure to highly acidic runoff. Assuming the use of proper installation techniques, it appears that bituminized fiber pipe might be suitable for use in many locations having non-abrasive flow conditions on low traffic volume, rural secondary routes. Accordingly, it is recommended that bituminized fiber pipe culverts be considered for judicious use in the secondary road system, particularly in cases where acidic runoff is encountered. Such action will increase the experience of the Department of Highways with bituminized fiber culverts and allow the state to avail itself of any advantages the product may offer.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


  • Wallace T. McKeel, Jr., P.E.

Last updated: February 12, 2024

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