Estimating bridge scour in New York from historical U.S. geological survey streamflow measurements

Edited by:
Shen Hsieh WenSu S.T.Wen Feng


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Historical streamflow measurements by the U.S. Geological Survey an bridge-inspection reports by the New York State Department of Transportation are being used to estimate scour at 31 bridges in New York State. Streamflow measurements that were made before, during, or after high flows are used to estimate scour and to define hydraulic properties associated with floods. Clear-water scour is common at most sites; local scour holes that formed during high flows did not refill after subsequent high flows. The 31 streambeds are armored by gravel; median particle size ranges form 22 to 68 millimeters. Streambed elevations measured after a high flow are assumed to represent the elevations during peak flow. Measurements at several bridges indicate scour by multiple high flows, severe floods, and debris. Three high flows at State Route 23 over the Otselic River in Cortland County produced 6.1 feet of local scour and partly exposed concrete pilings below the footing. Although the recurrence interval of each flow was less than 10 years, a 30-degree angle between the flow and the pier increased the tendency of the streambed to scour. State Route 427 over the Chemung River in Chemung County survived the 1972 flood ( recurrence interval greater than 100 years) because pilings supported the undermined piers. The maximum local scour during the 1972 flood was estimated to be 5.4 feet. A local-scour hole, 2.4 feet deep before the flood, was deepened to 7.8 feet.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Conference Paper
Publication Subtype:
Conference Paper
Estimating bridge scour in New York from historical U.S. geological survey streamflow measurements
pt 2
Year Published:
Publ by ASCE
Publisher location:
New York, NY, United States
Larger Work Title:
Proceedings - National Conference on Hydraulic Engineering
First page:
Last page:
Conference Title:
Proceedings of the National Conference on Hydraulic Engineering
Conference Location:
San Francisco, CA, USA
Conference Date:
25 July 1993 through 30 July 1993