Corrosion of metal pipes used as culverts is a problem that affect many agencies directly involved in designing and maintaining these culverts. The corrosive environment of soil types found in a region could vary in a significant way (mildly corrosive to extremely corrosive) based on soil characteristics. Environmental conditions such as high water table, acidity and presence of various salts could make a soil corrosive to metal pipes. In this article, authors have applied a methodology of processing readily available soil data such as spatial distribution of soil types and soil characteristics (e.g. pH and conductivity) in delineating spatial corrosion zones in Coastal Louisiana. A combination of data, obtained from field surveys provided by the Louisiana Department of Transportation & Development and the Web Soil Survey Data provided by Natural Resources Conservation Service, were used to create an interpolated surface representing zones corrosive to metal culverts. The corrosion zones are classified based on expected service life spans of these culverts. The soil characteristics were incorporated in to previously established corrosion models to assess expected service life of metal culverts. Results suggest that about 80% area of the Coastal Louisiana is either highly corrosive or extremely corrosive resulting in expected service life of metal culverts 40 years or less.

Meeting Name

Transportation Research Board 97th Annual Meeting (2018: Jan. 1-11, Washington, DC)


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering


This paper was sponsored by TRB committee AFS40 Standing Committee on Subsurface Soil-Structure Interaction.

Keywords and Phrases

Coasts; Corrosion; Delineation; Geographic information systems; Louisiana; Metal culverts; pH value; Protection against environmental damage; Service life; Soil resistivity; Soils by properties; Bridges and other structures; Environment; Geotechnology; Highways; Hydraulics and Hydrology

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type




Publication Date

11 Jan 2018