New Brunswick Culvert Asset Management Program

Oct 2015  •  Civil Infrastructure  •  Article


In the summer of 2015, Inversa Systems began an asset management program with the New Brunswick Department of Transportation and Infrastructure. This project focused on buried roadway culverts that were a part of the Province’s “strategic corridors”. The scope of the project included 14 buried roadway culverts, most constructed of corrugated metal pipe, and included the full structural condition assessment as well as a recommended path forward for managing the pipes into the future. Four (4) pipes were recommended for continued monitoring, one (1) pipe was recommended for replacement and nine (9) pipes were recommended to be rehabilitated using various trenchless techniques that were detailed in rehabilitation design reports.

This project culminated in a return on investment (ROI) calculation that was provided to the Department in order to quantify the value of this approach to managing buried transportation infrastructure. If the recommendations are followed, it is estimated that a minimum of $7 million in construction costs would be saved by applying trenchless techniques which extend the useful service life of the pipes that were recommended for rehabilitation.

New Brunswick Culvert Asset Management Program

The initial asset management project was focused on strategic corridors that are important for economic resource activity. However, applying the same asset management practices to the larger set of infrastructure would yield even greater cost savings or RIO for the Department. This approach to managing buried assets also has the benefit of increasing safety and decreasing service disruption associated with infrastructure replacement. These “social costs” are more difficult to quantify, however, they are real and should be recognized when evaluating how to manage ageing infrastructure.

By engaging in a comprehensive condition assessment and the systematic prioritization of rehabilitation projects, there is the opportunity to plan proactive maintenance and rehabilitation as opposed to reactively repairing or replacing assets as they fail. Fundamentally, a reactive approach to maintenance potentially compromises safety and costs far more than investing in a proactive asset integrity management program.