A very common confusion between two vital structures is present among students and engineers as well that is “What is the difference between culvert and a bridge”. Culvert and a bridge both span a clear space and looks similar to each other, but there is a clear difference between their purpose as well as their design. In this post we will be trying to understand that difference and after reading this post you will be able to easily distinguish between them just by looking;

Bridge in brief

First of all don’t confuse the word “Bridge” with that of the card game played mostly and is very popular among teens.
“Bridge is a structure that spans a physical natural hurdle or obstruction like river or a valley. A bridge carries a passage that can be a roadway or railway across an obstruction that can be a river or a railroad or even another road as well”
bridge – Source: www.digitaltrends.com 


Thus bridge allows easy movement of vehicles or people across a river or a valley without difficulty, and in this way it reduces the distance and time required to cross such a distance.

Culvert in Brief

”culvert is a structure that allows the easy passage of water through a physical obstruction that can be a hill or a roadway or a passage or a walkway”.
Culvert – Source: http://www.lmnoeng.com
Culvert is typically embedded by a soil or surface. Culvert can be made up of a reinforced concrete or even steel as well.

Culvert VS Bridges – what is the difference

Now if you go through their introduction you will be at ease in differentiating the two structure, firstly and importantly culvert is made for passage of water where as bridge is designed to allow the easy passage of traffic or community.
From the image we can make in our mind of culvert and bridge is; bridge is a bigger structure as compared with a culvert,
Bridges mostly don’t have a floor; by floor we mean in bridges the two piers or abutments are not joined at bottom by a surface where as in culverts they have a proper floor and are circular, rectangular or elliptical.
Now if from just a look you are not able to decide whether it is a culvert or a bridge the deciding factor is its size,

If the size of the structure is more than 20 feet it is a bridge and if less than it would be a culvert.

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Written by luckyguyishere

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