American Society of Civil Engineers

Hydraulic Performances of Minimum Energy Loss Culverts in Australia

by Hubert Chanson, (Reader, Div. of Civ. Engrg., The Univ. of Queensland, Brisbane Qld. 4072, Australia. E-mail:

Journal of Performance of Constructed Facilities, Vol. 21, No. 4, July/August 2007, pp. 264-272, (doi:

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Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: Culverts are among the most common hydraulic structures. Modern designs do not differ from ancient structures and are often characterized by significant afflux at the design flows. A significant advance was the development of the minimum energy loss (MEL) culverts in the late 1950s. The design technique allows a drastic reduction in the upstream flooding associated with lower costs. The development and operational performances of this type of structure is presented. The successful operation of MEL culverts for more than 40 years is documented with first-hand records during and after floods. The experiences demonstrate the design soundness, while highlighting the importance of the hydraulic expertise of the design engineers.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Critical flow
Urban areas