Once all of the necessary cross-section data have been entered, the modeler can then add any bridges or culverts that are required. HEC-RAS computes energy losses caused by structures such as bridges and culverts in three parts. One part consists of losses that occur in the reach immediately downstream from the structure where an expansion of flow takes place. The second part is the losses at the structure itself, which can be modeled with several different methods. The third part consists of losses that occur in the reach immediately upstream of the structure where the flow is contracting to get through the opening.
The bridge routines in HEC-RAS allow the modeler to analyze a bridge with several different methods without changing the bridge geometry. The bridge routines have the ability to model low flow (Class A, B, and C), low flow and weir flow (with adjustments for submergence), pressure flow (orifice and sluice gate equations), pressure and weir flow, and high flows with the energy equation only. The model allows for multiple bridge and/or culvert openings at a single location.
The culvert hydraulics in HEC-RAS are based on the Federal Highway Administrations (FHWA) standard equations from the publication Hydraulic Design of Highway Culverts (FHWA, 1985), for inlet control situations, and a detailed energy balance into, through, and out of the culvert, for outlet control computations. The culvert routines include the ability to model circular, box, elliptical, arch, pipe arch, low profile arch, high profile arch, semi circular culverts, and ConSpan culvert shapes. The HEC-RAS program has the ability to model multiple culverts at a single location. The culverts can have different shapes, sizes, elevations, and loss coefficients. The user can also specify the number of identical barrels for each culvert type. Culverts can also be buried into the ground and have different roughness coefficients for the bottom, versus the top and sides.