The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) currently uses several pipe culvert end treatments, including standard headwalls, slope and flared headwalls, sloped and parallel headwalls, and safety metal ends. These treatments, however, can pose a safety hazard to motorists and those performing landscaping work (e.g., mowing). Crash statistics from 2012 through 2016 for Kentucky reveal that 49 fatalities and 148 incapacitating injuries occurred in incidents where culverts/headwalls were coded as the first harmful event on the police report. One solution to the safety hazards associated with standard pipe culvert headwalls is to use sloped and mitered concrete headwalls instead. To evaluate the viability of sloped and mitered concrete headwalls for widespread use, Kentucky Transportation Center (KTC) researchers reviewed industry guidance and best practices; observed, documented, and analyzed several projects on which sloped and mitered concrete headwalls were used; developed cost comparisons for sloped and mitered concrete headwalls and conventional headwalls, and evaluated specifications for sloped and mitered concrete headwalls adopted by other states. Sloped and mitered concrete headwalls conform with industry guidance and protect against significant vehicle damage. Observations of sloped and mitered concrete headwalls used on KYTC projects attested to the importance of establishing and applying unambiguous design and construction criteria. Specifically, the grade should be set before a slope and mitered headwall is installed. Furthermore, adding grate bars will improve performance as will securing pipe ends to the headwall. A sample of headwalls should be chosen for long-term monitoring purposes, with inspections conducted each year. Overall, sloped and mitered concrete headwalls are an attractive option given they can be installed quickly and without special equipment, their robust performance, and low cost compared to standard pipe culvert headwalls.

Report Date


Report Number


Digital Object Identifier



© 2018 University of Kentucky, Kentucky Transportation Center

Information may not be used, reproduced, or republished without KTC’s written consent.

The contents of this report reflect the views of the authors, who are responsible for the facts and accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the University of Kentucky, the Kentucky Transportation Center, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the United States Department of Transportation, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. The inclusion of manufacturer names or trade names is for identification purposes and should not be considered an endorsement.