Level II scour analysis for Bridge 31 (BRNATH00470031) on Town Highway 47, crossing Locust Creek, Barnard, Vermont

Open-File Report 96-384




This report provides the results of a detailed Level II analysis of scour potential at structure BRNATH00470031 on town highway 47 crossing Locust Creek, Barnard, 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). A Level I study is included in Appendix E of this report. A Level I study provides a qualitative geomorphic characterization of the study site. Information on the bridge, gleaned from VTAOT files, was compiled prior to conducting Level I and Level II analyses and can be found in Appendix D.

The site is in the Green Mountain physiographic province of central Vermont in the town of Barnard. The 4.47-mi2 drainage area is a predominantly rural and forested basin. In the vicinity of the study site, the banks have dense woody vegetation coverage except for areas of grass and brush on the upstream banks.

In the study area, Locust Creek has an incised, sinuous channel with a slope of approximately 0.006 ft/ft, an average channel top width of 34 ft and an average channel depth of 3 ft. The predominant channel bed materials are gravel and cobble (D50 is 55.2 mm or 0.181 ft). The geomorphic assessment at the time of the Level I and Level II site visit on October 12, 1994, indicated that the reach was stable.

The town highway 47 crossing of Locust Creek is a 28-ft-long, one-lane bridge consisting of one 25-foot span concrete slab superstructure (Vermont Agency of Transportation, written commun., August 23, 1994). The bridge is supported by vertical, concrete abutments with concrete wingwalls. The channel is skewed approximately 20 degrees to the opening while the opening-skew-to-roadway is 15 degrees.

The scour protection measures at the site were type-2 stone fill (less than 36 inches diameter) on the right and left abutments and all wingwalls. The banks upstream and downstream are not protected. 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, 1993). 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 0.0 to 1.5 ft. The worst-case contraction scour occurred at the 500-year discharge. Abutment scour ranged from 6.6 to 9.2 ft. The worst-case abutment scour also 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, 1993, p. 48). 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 31 (BRNATH00470031) on Town Highway 47, crossing Locust Creek, Barnard, Vermont
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Pembroke, NH
iv, 28 p.
United States
Other Geospatial:
Locust Creek