Level II scour analysis for Bridge 8 (STAMVT01000008) on State Highway 100, crossing the North Branch of the Hoosic River, Stamford, Vermont

Open-File Report 97-215

Prepared in cooperation with Vermont Agency of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration



This report provides the results of a detailed Level II analysis of scour potential at structure STAMVT01000008 on Vermont Highway 100 crossing the North Branch of the Hoosic River, Stamford, Vermont (figures 1–8). A Level II study is a basic engineering analysis of the site, including a quantitative analysis of stream stability and scour (U.S. Department of Transportation, 1993). Results of a Level I scour investigation also are included in Appendix E of this report. A Level I investigation provides a qualitative geomorphic characterization of the study site. Information on the bridge, gleaned from Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTAOT) files, was compiled prior to conducting Level I and Level II analyses and is found in Appendix D. The site is in the Green Mountain section of the New England physiographic province in southern Vermont. The 6.8-mi2 drainage area is in a predominantly rural and forested basin. In the vicinity of the study site, the upstream right bank surface cover is short grass and the upstream left bank is a sand/gravel lot while the immediate banks are covered by shrubs and trees. Downstream of the bridge banks are forested. In the study area, the North Branch of the Hoosic River has an incised, sinuous channel with a slope of approximately 0.02 ft/ft, an average channel top width of 37 ft and an average bank height of 3 ft. The channel bed material is predominantly cobble with a median grain size (D50) of 88.0 mm (0.289 ft). The geomorphic assessment at the time of the Level I and Level II site visit on August 1, 1996, indicated that the reach was laterally unstable. The Vermont Highway 100 crossing of the North Branch of the Hoosic River is a 39-ft-long, two-lane bridge consisting of one 37-foot steel-beam span (Vermont Agency of Transportation, written communication, November 1, 1995). The bridge is supported by vertical, concrete abutments. The channel is skewed approximately 20 degrees to the opening while the opening-skew-to-roadway is 15 degrees. A scour hole 2.5 ft deeper than the mean thalweg depth was observed along the upstream end of the right abutment during the Level I assessment. The only scour protection measure at the site was type-3 stone fill (less than 48 inches diameter) at the downstream ends of the left and right abutments extending downstream along the left bank for 13 feet and along the right bank for 16 feet. The plans show stone fill placed at the upstream ends of the abutments. The protection at the upstream end of the right abutment has failed due to stream migration towards the right bank. The protection at the upstream end of the left abutment was not detected due to the sand/gravel pile, for District 1 maintenance, migrating into the channel (Figure 3). Additional details describing conditions at the site are included in the Level II Summary and Appendices D and E. Scour depths and rock rip-rap sizes were computed using the general guidelines described in Hydraulic Engineering Circular 18 (Richardson and others, 1995). Total scour at a highway crossing is comprised of three components: 1) long-term streambed degradation; 2) contraction scour (due to accelerated flow caused by a reduction in flow area at a bridge) and; 3) local scour (caused by accelerated flow around piers and abutments). Total scour is the sum of the three components. Equations are available to compute depths for contraction and local scour and a summary of the results of these computations follows. Contraction scour for all modelled flows ranged from 0.6 to 3.0 ft. The worst-case contraction scour occurred at the 500-year discharge. Left abutment scour ranged from 14.4 to 17.8 ft. Right abutment scour ranged from 8.1 to 11.1 ft. The worst-case abutment scour occurred at the 500-year discharge. Additional information on scour depths and depths to armoring are included in the section titled “Scour Results”. Scoured-streambed elevations, based on the calculated scour depths, are presented in tables 1 and 2. A cross-section of the scour computed at the bridge is presented in figure 8. Scour depths were calculated assuming an infinite depth of erosive material and a homogeneous particle-size distribution. It is generally accepted that the Froehlich equation (abutment scour) gives “excessively conservative estimates of scour depths” (Richardson and others, 1995, p. 47). Usually, computed scour depths are evaluated in combination with other information including (but not limited to) historical performance during flood events, the geomorphic stability assessment, existing scour protection measures, and the results of the hydraulic analyses. Therefore, scour depths adopted by VTAOT may differ from the computed values documented herein.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Level II scour analysis for Bridge 8 (STAMVT01000008) on State Highway 100, crossing the North Branch of the Hoosic River, Stamford, Vermont
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Pembroke, NH
iv, 50 p.
United States
Other Geospatial:
Hoosic River