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Typically culverts are box shaped, round or elliptical in cross section. They are often pre-fabricated and can be made from pipes, reinforced concrete or other materials that are embedded within the surrounding landscape to create a bridge-like structure that permits the stable and proper flow of water under an obstacle such as a road, and can help alleviate flooding and reduce erosion.
The difference between a bridge and a culvert is that a bridge is intended to allow passage over an obstacle such as a body of water, whereas a culvert is intended to permit a body of water to pass under an obstacle such as a road. A culvert is provided for the ‘benefit’ of the water, and typically has a base over which the water flows. A bridge is provided for the passage of traffic, and provides a base over which that traffic can pass.
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