With approximately 80% of its total acreage devoted to farmland, adequate infrastructure to support Pipestone County Minnesota’s agriculture industry is essential. This point is emphasized when realizing that 97% of the farms in the county are family owned, and these families are dependent on infrastructure providing access for the equipment used on the farm and for their distribution partners. When a local road in this rural county was due for an overlay, it was recognized that the original cast-in-place box culverts, which had been widened with timber, were deficient and were experiencing joint separation, county officials made the decision to identify a longer-term solution.
Replacement solutions considered included a bridge, round pipe, corrugated metal pipe (CMP) and standard box culverts. In addition to cost and load capacity (e.g., 46,000-pound combines or 80,000-pound class 8 trucks), durability, and lifespan were also important considerations – making concrete the obvious choice. While concrete may have been an easy choice, other aspects of the project would not be as simple.
This project had tight deadlines to meet and could have been further challenged because of the time intensive production methods required for such massive products.