The overall damage from the June 1972 floods in Pennsylvania is estimated at more than 4 billion dollars. Damage to roads, bridges, and other transportation facilities is estimated to exceed 100 million dollars. On the state highway systems, including federal-aid and non-federal-aid roads, 252 bridges were out of service. As regards municipal structures, approximately 220 bridges were totally washed out and, in addition, 150 bridges were damaged. It was recognized that considerable federal aid would be required in the flood recovery effort. By June 24, FHWA engineers began making survey reports with Pennsylvania DOT personnel. As of the end of December, 214 of the 252 damaged bridges had been repaired or temporary run-arounds constructed and 350 miles of the 373 miles of damaged roadway had been reopened. Also as of the date, 253 emergency contracts were negotiated for a total of approximately 15 million dollars, and 194 have been completed as of the date of this report. No attempt has been made to review in-depth the cause of damage for each bridge. However, through hydrologic and hydraulic reports some clues on the causes of the damage have been noted. These causes, which are discussed briefly in this report, are as follows: (1) scour at bridge abutments or piers due to poor foundation materials; (2) damage to bridge abutment or approach embankments due to poor upstream alignment (a sharp turn at the bridge site); (3) debris pile-up; (4) loss of approach embankments due to shift of channel courses; and (5) encroachment of approach embankments or abutments into the main channels of the stream.

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    • Distribution, posting, or copying of this PDF is strictly prohibited without written permission of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials in this PDF are copyrighted by the National Academy of Sciences. Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Sponsored by Committee on Surface Drainage of Highways.
  • Authors:
    • Bowser, Fred W
    • Tsai, Ming C
  • Conference:
  • Publication Date: 1973

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Pagination: pp 12-14
  • Monograph Title: Highways and the catastrophic floods of 1972
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00159565
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 0309022657
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Sep 20 1977 12:00AM