Ben P. Daniel

Christopher Hoggan

Joseph R. Webb





A report submitted to Dr. Nelson and Dr. Hotchkiss



Civil and Environmental Engineering 594R

Engineering Study Abroad in Mexico




Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Brigham Young University

April 15, 2008








The objective of this project was to analyze and suggest design alternatives for culverts in Zacatecas, Mexico using the computer culvert analysis program HY-8. The members of the group that worked on this objective consist of Brigham Young University (BYU) students Ben Daniel, Chris Hoggan, and Joe Webb; and six Mexican students currently studying at University of Zacatecas (UAZ):Edgar Ochoa Santos, Eduardo BaŮuelos Robles, Eric Alfonso Huerta Reyes, Guillermina Jovita Garibay Rivera, Jose Roberto Avila Carrasco, and Jonatan Chavez Acosta.The initial project objectives included: identify the current culvert analysis abilities and understanding of the team in Mexico, identify culverts to analyze, create a culvert assessment form, and complete culvert analysis of several culverts.†† The BYU team created a culvert assessment which requested data relevant to HY-8 analysis.It was left to the UAZ team to identify culverts to analyze and to perform the culvert assessment.

The project advisor is Dr. Rollin Hotchkiss, a professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Brigham Young University (BYU), who has done extensive research and development work in culvert hydraulics.The objective of the project was given to the team by Dr. Hotchkiss, who oversaw and approved development of the project by the team of students through weekly meetings.When the project began, Joe Webb had a working knowledge of culvert hydraulics, as well as HY-8.Ben Daniel and Chris Hoggan had an understanding of basic principles of fluid mechanics, and no culvert hydraulics training.Ben and Joe had no working knowledge of the Spanish language and relied on Chris to translate all prepared documents and generally acted as a liaison between the UAZ and BYU groups.

††††††††††† In order to establish communication with our other group members in Mexico, the team designed a webpage where team member information and project related information was shared, including project objectives and progress. The webpage, including the project objective and critical path were presented to the other five groups at BYU.Because Ben and Chris had no knowledge of HY-8 or basic culvert hydraulic principles, much of their first few weeks consisted of familiarizing themselves with HY-8 and studying the Federal Highway Administrationís Hydraulic Design Series Number 5:Hydraulic Design of Highway Culverts.Using these two sources, the group created a Culvert Assessment Form for use in the project.This form was translated and sent to group members in Mexico.Several drafts of this document were revised in order to use appropriate technical terms in Spanish.Because the group in Mexico was unable to find any locally collected culvert analysis data, they decided to find three culverts for analysis and to collect the data necessary data for said analysis. Using Total Stations to survey the selected culverts and reduced these surveys in order to complete the culvert analysis form that had been developed. As this survey work progressed, communication between the UAZ and BYU groups increased in order to adequately define the necessary culvert assessment parameters.

††††††††††† Before the UAZ students would be able to analyze a culvert, it was necessary to teach them basic culvert hydraulics.UAZ team members had varying understanding of fluid hydraulic principles, but none had been trained in culvert hydraulics.The BYU team determined that we would take some time in Mexico to teach culvert hydraulics, and to refer the UAZ team to HDS-5 to prepare for this discussion.All of the BYU groupís time between completing the culvert assessment form and the actual trip to Mexico was spent developing this Culvert Hydraulics Teaching Module.Several topics for the module were considered and discussed, and the selected topics were prepared by various members of the BYU group.Topics included:the importance of hydrologic data in culvert design and assessment, culvert flow types and conditions, outlet velocity implications, culvert design techniques, and economic implications in culvert design.These topics were individually prepared, and taught to the group, then modified and finalized as a team.

††††††††††† Chris had served a mission in Spain, as well as a BYU Study Abroad in the same country, but his technical Spanish vocabulary was certainly not adequate for translating advanced culvert hydraulic instructions.The enormous obstacle of conveying this information was increased by the difficulty of finding a source for technical translation.First of all, Chris and Ben didnít know what many of the words meant in English, and the UAZ counterparts had not been exposed to even the Spanish version of these terms before.The BYU group tried to compile a list of technical terms that needed translation and as words were added to the list, native Mexicans at BYU, the internet, and the UAZ team were approached for translation. ††In this way, the level of communication was improved, and the combined time in Mexico was to be more efficiently utilized.Unfortunately, due to the complications previously mentioned, the teaching module was not fully translated by the time both groups met in Mexico.

††††††††††† The BYU group thought that it would be a valuable exercise to perform a complete culvert analysis in the States before teaching an analysis in Mexico.A culvert on Hobble Creek was selected, and the team spent an entire morning gathering the necessary topographical data and measuring the flow of the water. A subjective analysis of culvert and flow features prompted instructional discussion.The collected data was then inputted into HY-8 to familiarize the team with the program and to perform a complete culvert analysis.In hindsight, this was essential preparation to the completion of a successful culvert analysis in Mexico.

††††††††††† Two full days were spent in Mexico as a combined group.Tasks included visiting the chosen culverts, revising project goals, the culvert hydraulics teaching discussion, culvert analysis, and the preparation of a final project presentation.The UAZ team was unable to complete a complete culvert assessment because of construction, and the second assessment was done on a bridge, not a culvert.The final culvert assessed was actually a system of two culverts, as well as one 300 meter storm pipe.Because of the limited window of time and because of the fundamental technical understanding necessary, the groups decided to model the final culvert completely instead of modeling the entire culvert system with the likely result being an incomplete analysis.The results of this analysis were included in the final powerpoint presentation which follows.














††††††††††† The group learned many things over the course of the semester. We learned about culvert hydraulics, hydrology, and culvert economics. We learned about why and when one would choose a culvert over a bridge and the advantages of each. We learned about different inlet types and the way they affect flow through the culvert and we learned about the different culvert flow types. We taught each other these principles as well as our counterparts in Mexico. We learned about the program HY-8 and modeled a culvert in Hobble Creek as well as one in Mexico.We have gone studied the Federal Highway Administration culvert design manual (the HDS-5 manual). We learned Spanish vocabulary (mostly engineering terms) and learned how to cooperate and work in teams. We learned how to work with a team that we could meet with regularly and with one that we were limited to electronic communication for much of the time.

††††††††††† The culverts that we saw in Mexico varied in quality dramatically. It appeared that flood control, erosion reduction, and public safety was accounted for in some locations, and not in others. The culvert system that was under construction displayed a significant investment in the outlet, as evidenced by its three large barrels and a retaining basin the size of a hockey rink and 20 feet tall, to encourage infiltration instead of runoff.However, the culvert systemís inlet had thin-edge projecting walls, was very close to the road elevation and had an unquestionably inadequate capacity, ensuring that flows for which the outlet system was designed would surely overtop the roadway. There was concern for the houses downstream of the culvert, but not for the road and the cars that would travel on it during a period of high runoff.The culvert system which included the culvert that was analyzed had huge barrels at the beginning of the system, but two small barrels under four lanes of a road at the outlet of the system.The conclusion of our analysis was that the culverts would be unable to convey the five-year flood, though culverts are often designed to carry fifty-year floods.

††††††††††† Our Mexican counterparts will use the knowledge they have gained to improve the culverts in Mexico.They plan to create an inventory of the culverts in Zacatecas and collect data from each site.They hope to compile this data in a GIS database that will include HY-8 analysis.This database would be used to propose designs for new and existing culverts in their city.

††††††††††† A retrospective discussion yielded the conclusion that we were able to accomplish the goals we outlined for this class. We planned what we would do, intermediate tasks, got in contact with our group from Mexico, learned about culvert hydraulics, HY-8 and developed an acceptable Spanish vocabulary. We applied what we learned and modeled two culvert systems. When we arrived in Mexico, we were able to help our counterparts learn about culvert hydraulics and HY-8, as well as assisting them as they applied the knowledge they gained and developed a plan to use it in the future to improve the infrastructure in Zacatecas. ††We feel that we were successful in our over-arching desire to transfer ownership of this project to our counterparts in Mexico.What a wonderful opportunity it was to develop real world experience to receive a very general project description, create and successfully carry out a project.This was enhanced by an opportunity that is rare in our school experience:we had the opportunity to not only work in a globally diverse, but also in a group with members whose technical abilities, training, and understandings were also quite diverse.