The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with FHWA, compared predicted abutment scour depths, computed with selected predictive equations, with field observations collected at 144 bridges in South Carolina and at eight bridges from the National Bridge Scour Database. Predictive equations published in the 4th edition of Evaluating Scour at Bridges (Hydraulic Engineering Circular 18) were used in this comparison, including the original Froehlich, the modified Froehlich, the Sturm, the Maryland, and the HIRE equations. The comparisons showed that most equations tended to provide conservative estimates of scour that at times were excessive (as large as 158 ft). Equations also produced underpredictions of scour, but with less frequency. Although the equations provide an important resource for evaluating abutment scour at bridges, the results of this investigation show the importance of using engineering judgment in conjunction with these equations.
Additional publication details
Evaluation of abutment scour prediction equations with field data