Driveway Culverts

Buffalo Mountain Metropolitan District

Driveway Culverts – Owner Responsibility

Summit County Code & BMMD 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.” 

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. They are also 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 unto the road ways. The water then freezes creating a hazard for all.

Homeowners are responsible for maintaining free flowing culverts and correcting blockages.

Cleaning Options:

  • Hire a sewer jetting company like SnowBridge – (800) 426-6827
  • Hire an excavating or “handyman” service to perform the work
  • Hire RKR Inc (Local Excavator and District road maintenance contractor) independently of the District. Rocky Paden - (970) 333-8577
  • Perform the work yourself


  • If culvert cleaning is necessary, talk to your neighbors. Jetting companies will give better rates to multiple projects and/or can eliminate mobilization charges.
  • Don’t plow snow over or intentionally cover up the ends of culverts.
  • Inspect your culvert in the summer time. 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
  • If it appears that your culvert is rising or “floating” then it’s probably a poor bedding issue under the pipe. Recommend replacing the culvert and adding the proper 4” minimum or more of bedding cover on top before any asphalt or paving.
  • Extra care should be taken if thawing plastic culverts
  • Review the county codes in regards to drainage and driveway culverts:

Permanent Solutions:

  • Replace culvert to proper size, slope and bedding.
  • Install flared ends on uphill side if needed
  • Improve ditch soils and slopes to prevent erosion.
  • Heat tape – is a reliable and efficient option if installed correctly. (See county note)
    • Note - If heat tape is used, protect the wire and components from plow and vehicular damage and size electrical cord accordingly.  

Summit County Colorado Chapter 5: Road and Bridge Standards

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 Rules & Regulations


.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.