Trends in live-bed pier scour at selected bridges in South Carolina

By:  and 
Edited by: Susan E. BurnsShobha K. BhatiaCatherine M.C Avila, and Beatric E. Hunt



The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the South Carolina Department of Transportation, used ground-penetrating radar to collect measurements of live-bed pier scour at 78 bridges in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain physiographic provinces of South Carolina. The 141 measurements of live-bed pier-scour depth ranged from 0.5 to 5.1 meters. Using hydraulic data estimated with a one-dimensional flow model, predicted live-bed scour depths were computed with scour equations from the Hydraulic Engineering Circular 18 and compared with measured scour. This comparison indicated that predicted pier-scour depths generally exceeded the measured pier-scour depths. At times, predicted pier-scour depths were excessive with overpredictions as large as 7.0 meters. Relations in the live-bed pier-scour data also were investigated, leading to the development of an envelope curve for assessing the upper-bound of live-bed pier scour using pier width as the primary explanatory variable. The envelope curve developed with the field data has limitations, but it can be used as a supplementary tool for assessing the potential for live-bed pier scour in South Carolina. This paper will present findings related to the field investigation of live-bed pier scour. A companion paper presents findings related to live-bed contraction scour that was studied during the same field investigation.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title Trends in live-bed pier scour at selected bridges in South Carolina
DOI 10.1061/41147(392)8
Year Published 2010
Language English
Publisher American Society of Civil Engineers
Contributing office(s) South Atlantic Water Science Center
Description 10 p.
Larger Work Type Conference Paper
Larger Work Title Scour and Erosion
First page 95
Last page 104
Conference Title 5th International Conference on Scour and Erosion
Conference Location San Francisco, California
Conference Date November 7-10 2010
Country United States
State South Carolina
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N