Simplified Method for Estimating Scour at Bridges

This research proposes a new method to assess a bridge for scour. It is made up of three levels of assessments. The first level is termed Bridge Scour Assessment 1 (BSA 1). The second and third levels are termed BSA 2 and BSA 3, respectively. BSA 1 overcomes the qualitative nature of current initial evaluation procedures by extrapolating present scour measurements to obtain the scour depth corresponding to a specified future flood event. It utilizes computer-generated extrapolation charts based on a large combination of hypothetical bridges, which relate the future scour depth/maximum observed scour depth ratio to the future flood velocity/maximum observed flood velocity ratio. BSA 2 has to be carried out if BSA 1 does not conclude with a specific plan of action for the bridge. BSA 2 determines the maximum scour depth. Though conservative, BSA 2 was introduced due to its simplicity. BSA 3 has to be carried out if BSA 2 does not conclude with a specific plan of action. BSA 3 involves the calculation of time-dependent scour depth rather than simply using the maximum scour depth. BSA 3 is valuable in the case of highly erosion-resistant materials that do not achieve the maximum scour depth within the lifetime of a bridge. Both BSA 2 and BSA 3 utilize erosion classification charts that replace site-specific erosion testing for preliminary evaluations. The scour vulnerability depends on the comparison of the predicted scour depth and the allowable scour depth of the foundation. Hydrologic and hydraulic computer programs were developed to obtain the flow parameters. These programs generate maps of the maximum previous flood recurrence interval experienced by a specified bridge in Texas and converts flow into flow velocities. The 11 case histories used as validation showed good agreement between predicted and measured values. BSA 1 was then applied to 16 bridges. In this process, 6 out of 10 scour-critical bridges were found to be stable in terms of scour. The proposed bridge scour assessment procedure allows for the economical and relatively simple evaluation of scour-critical bridges. It also overcomes the over-conservatism in current methods.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Technical Report
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 486p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01143779
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: FHWA/TX-09/0-5505-1, Report 0-5505-1
  • Contract Numbers: Project 0-5505
  • Created Date: Nov 9 2009 10:23AM