Scour assessment at bridges from Flag Point to Million Dollar Bridge, Copper River Highway, Alaska

Water-Resources Investigations Report 94-4073




Twelve bridges are located along the Copper River Highway from Flag Point (Mile 27) to lhe Million Dollar Bridge (Mile 48). These bridges cross all or parts of the Copper River. Channel scour at these bridges was assessed by collecting and analyzing discharge and sediment data, analyzing aerial photography for eight different years, surveying and comparing cross sections, and utilizing scour equations. Between 1968 and 1992, scour occurring at Bridge 331 has formed two distinct channels at the bridge. The channel at Bridge 1187 has remained relatively unchanged between 1968 and 1992. During this same time period, the channel at Bridge 332 appears to have gradually filled. However, during the 1992 runoff season, the channel at this bridge scoured significantly, probably because of its unstable nature. The most significant scour has occurred at Bridge 342. A high-water period in 1981 probably shifted much of the flow of the Copper River through this bridge. As a result, severe contraction scour occurred which required major repairs to the bridge. During 1991 and 1992, the approach channel to Bridge 342 has been migrating, causing scour in the left side of the channel. Bed material at the Million Dollar Bridge consists of hard unweathered boulders nested in dense gravel. Because of this type of erosion-resistant material, no significant scour has occurred at this site. Contraction scour equations overestimated the mean depth of flow at Bridge 331 by 2.6 to 5.0 ft, but were within 1.0 ft of the mean depth of flow for Bridge 1187. The local scour equations generally overestimated local scour at both Bridge 331 and Bridge 1187. The accuracy of some equations was probably affected because water velocities could not be obtained upstream from the piers.

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USGS Numbered Series
Scour assessment at bridges from Flag Point to Million Dollar Bridge, Copper River Highway, Alaska
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Water-Resources Investigations Report
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U.S. Dept. of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey ; USGS Earth Science Information Center, Open-File Reports Section [distributor],
v, 57 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.