Progress / Science

Culvert Inventories Help Towns Plan for Future Improvements

During the fall of 2015, the Lamoille County Planning Commission, LCPC, staff conducted extensive fieldwork to complete an updated culvert inventory for the town of Stowe. The inventory was funded through LCPC’s annual Transportation Planning Initiative agreement with the Vermont Agency of Transportation.  The inventory involved both mapping and assessing the current condition of culverts on all class 1, 2 and 3 roads as well as town highways. Staff collected additional relevant information on each structure, including size, material type, road erosion, GPS coordinates, and comments regarding culverts that were blocked, crushed or collapsing.

590 culverts were assessed on town highways in Stowe. Approximately 65% were found to be in good to excellent condition, while only 17% were in poor to critical condition. The remaining 18% were in fair condition.

Culvert inventories help towns plan and budget for future transportation infrastructure improvements. Understanding the current condition, dimensions and functionality of existing culverts can assist town officials and Road Foremen in prioritizing structures for replacement, addressing high priority water quality concerns, and developing a capital budget.

The assessment provides baseline information that can be used in future grant applications for transportation infrastructure upgrades including, upsizing culverts to improve aquatic organism passage and increasing river or stream flow capacity. Culvert inventories also provide valuable insight about flood prone areas and structural concerns in the event of a natural disaster. This information can be used in Vermont Agency of Natural Resources tactical basin plans, in local Hazard Mitigation Plan updates, and for the flood resiliency element of municipal plans. Conducting an updated culvert inventory was a key action item in the 2015 Stowe Hazard Mitigation Plan update.  For a copy of the latest culvert inventory report please contact Meghan Rodier at 802-888-4548 or