A simple procedure is proposed to assess the vulnerability of bridge piers in rivers, taking into consideration the phenomena governing fluvial dynamics during flood events. The procedure requires an estimation of the maximum scour depth of the soil surrounding both the pier and foundation as well as an analysis of the bearing capacity of the pier-foundation-soil geotechnical system. The scour depth is determined in terms of the physical and mechanical properties of the streambed soil, the shape of the pier foundation, and the destabilizing effects induced by hydrodynamic forces. Coupling of the hydraulic and geotechnical analyses allows for identification of the most important factors characterizing scour depth and affecting pier vulnerability. Two levels (low, medium) of allowable vulnerability, bounded by an extreme condition of high vulnerability, are defined and analytically determined in function of the maximum scour depth and the foundation depth. Specific diagrams corresponding to each category of foreseen actions allow a quick evaluation of the vulnerability of a bridge pier.


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  • Accession Number: 00964496
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Oct 7 2003 12:00AM