Buffalo Mountain Metropolitan District
Driveway Culverts – Owner Responsibility
High snow loads, steep mountainous roads and drainage make for difficult culvert and ditch maintenance. Driveway culverts are susceptible to corrosion as well as damage from plow contractors, cars driving off the road, or any type of contracted excavating.
Culverts are prone to filling in with sediment after a large rain event or spring runoff. Once filled in either partially or wholly, ice will build up in the winter and freeze from the bottom up until it’s completely blocked. This is normally only an issue during spring runoff but is also present during low snow winters. When driveway culverts become clogged or ice dammed, they back up and flow into the roadways. The water then freezes creating a hazard for all.
Please find below some helpful tips for property owners to maintain free flowing driveway culverts and correct blockages.
Summit County Code & BMMD Regulations state: “It is the responsibility of the property owners to maintain their culverts free and clear of silt, mud, debris and ice at all times.” Repair or damage to public roads, right-of-ways and drainage systems caused by a blocked culvert or lack of a culvert will be billed directly to the property owner of the failed culvert.
Helpful Maintenance Tips
- If culvert cleaning is necessary, talk to your neighbors. Jetting companies will give better rates to multiple projects and/or can eliminate mobilization charges (see contacts below).
- Keep the upper & lower ends of the driveway culverts clear! Don’t plow or store snow on either end.
- Inspect your culvert in the summertime. If there is more than 25% of sediment, clean it out before winter.
- Keep the ditch above the culvert free of debris, loose rocks, or anything that can migrate downhill
- Protect the outfall with proper bedding to prevent erosion
- Maintain a constant slope for the drainage and eliminate any high or low points in ditches
- Maintain a constant depth and width of the ditch
- Compact all soils in trenches to alleviate erosion
- Extra care should be taken if thawing plastic culverts
- BMMD may require owners to heat tape their culvert to ensure flow during the winter months to minimize the potential of ice forming on roadways. Heat tape in winter to prevent freezing is a reliable and efficient option if installed correctly. If heat tape is used, protect the wire and components from plow and vehicular damage and size electrical cord accordingly.
- Trough Heaters are also an option which can be placed directly on the ice but will take a longer period of time to melt out thoroughly. If a trough heater is used, protect the wire and components from plow and vehicular damage and size electrical cord accordingly
Repairs & Replacements
- If it appears that your culvert is rising or “floating” then it’s probably a poor bedding issue under the pipe. You should replace the culvert by adding the proper 4” minimum or more of bedding cover on top of culvert before any asphalt or paving is added.
- Replace culvert to proper size, slope and bedding.
- Install flared ends on uphill side if needed
- Improve ditch soils and slopes to prevent erosion.
Summit County Colorado Chapter 5: Road and Bridge Standards
Visit the County website to download the full regulations pertaining to drainage and driveway culverts.
5107.03: Standards for Driveway Design - H. Provision for Drainage:
Driveway design shall make adequate provision for drainage and prevention of erosion.
1. Drainage from driveways shall be diverted to roadside ditches or other appropriate drainage way(s). Drainage from driveways shall not flow onto roads.
2. When necessary to handle roadside drainage, driveways shall use culverts, drainage pans or other devices suitable for the conveyance of roadside drainage. Final approval for the types of drainage items used and the locations of such items shall be at the discretion of the County Engineer or his delegate.
3. Culverts shall be corrugated metal pipes, or other material types approved by the Road & Bridge Department. In addition, culvert design and installation shall be in compliance with the following:
a. Culverts shall have either flared end sections or shall have annular ends.
b. There shall be a minimum of four (4) inches of road-base cover over culverts serving driveways.
c. Culvert lengths greater than 30 feet are not allowed.
d. Culverts installed for driveways shall be sized and installed subject to the provisions of the required right-of-way access permit issued for the installation, but in all cases the minimum diameter for these culverts shall be 15-inches.
4. Drainage pans shall be designed to accommodate flows associated with the 25-year design storm. Concrete mix designs for drainage pans shall be submitted to the Engineering Department for approval prior to installation.
5. Property owners shall be responsible for keeping their culverts clean and ice-free. The Road & Bridge Department may require owners to heat tape their culvert to ensure flow during the winter months to minimize the potential of ice forming on roadways (see Section 5507.02).
5507.02: Providing for Drainage (pg40+41)
A. Culverts are required where driveways connect to roadways unless specifically exempted by the Road & Bridge Department and these regulations. It is the responsibility of the property owners to maintain their culverts free and clear of silt, mud, debris and ice at all times. Repair of damage to a road caused by a blocked culvert or lack of a culvert is the responsibility of the property owner. If it becomes necessary for the County to undertake repairs, costs will be billed to the property owner by the Road & Bridge Department as may be authorized by law (see C.R.S. Section 43-5-303 et seq.).
B. Water that flows out of driveways must be diverted to ditches. Repair of damage to roadways caused by such water is similarly the responsibility of the owner and repair costs will be billed accordingly
BMMD Road/Drainage Contact Information
24 - hour road emergency. Contact Rocky Paden (RKR) – (970) 333-8577
- BMMD Office (970) 513-1300, BMMD Website - https://bmmd.colorado.gov
- Greg Morgano, Field Operations Manager firstname.lastname@example.org
Contractors for Culvert Maintenance & Repairs
- G&G Services - 970-387-8612, email: email@example.com
- RKR Inc – (970) 513-4691 or (970) 333-8577
- Snowbridge - (800) 426-6827
BMMD Rules & Regulations
ARTICLE VII, 700 - STORM DRAINAGE SYSTEM
.07 - RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE PROPERTY OWNER: Each property owner shall be responsible for maintaining drainage lines, ditches, culverts, ways or appurtenances serving his property. Leaks, stoppage, or breaks shall be repaired by the property owner within a reasonable period of time, after notification of such condition and such time period by the District. The District shall have the right to effect the repair and collect costs from the property owner, which costs shall be a charge of the District and be enforceable by a perpetual lien against the property to secure such costs.