Utility Impact below Bridge or Culvert Soffit on Open Channel Flow

Rodney Mcdermott, Sarah Quinn

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The background to this research was a flooding incident that occurred in Bridgend, Co. Donegal, Ireland in August 2017. While several properties were flooded, a flooding case study of a single dwelling house adjacent to the Bridgend River at Riverdale, Bunamayne, Co. Donegal, Ireland is used herein. For this study the flooded site shall be referred to as the “Hegarty property”. A structure in the form of a stone arched culvert is located directly adjacent to the two-storey detached dwelling house on the Hegarty Property. While the culvert is referred to locally as a bridge, within this research the word culvert will be used in connection with the structure. The culvert has a concrete surrounded utility (watermain) crossing at a gradient below the culvert soffit on the upstream face of the structure. The utility obstructed flow through the culvert and contributed to the flooding event. Given the implication of climate change and the increased probability of more extreme flooding events, it was decided to explore the case study to ascertain the factors that contribute to flooding events when utilities are positioned at culvert or bridge structures. This work was completed to assist undergraduate students, researchers, and local authorities in a relatively unknown area of flood causation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-210
Number of pages18
JournalOpen Journal of Modern Hydrology
Issue number04
Early online date5 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 31 Oct 2023


  • Utility
  • Bridge
  • Culvert
  • Hydraulics
  • Flooding
  • Climate Change & Open Channel Flow


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