Level II scour analysis for Bridge 25 (BRNAVT00120025) on State Highway 12, crossing Locust Creek, Barnard, Vermont

Open-File Report 96-388

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 BRNAVT00120025 on State Highway 12 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 available 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 division of central Vermont in the town of Barnard. The 11.6-mi2 drainage area is in a predominantly rural and forested basin. In the vicinity of the study site, the banks have woody vegetation coverage.

In the study area, Locust Creek has a sinuous channel with a slope of approximately 0.023 ft/ft, an average channel top width of 49 ft and an average channel depth of 4 ft. The predominant channel bed material is cobble (D50 is 109 mm or 0.359 ft). The geomorphic assessment at the time of the Level I and Level II site visits on September 23 and December 16, 1994, indicated that the reach was stable.

The State Highway 12 crossing of Locust Creek is a 41-ft-long, two-lane bridge consisting of one 39-foot concrete slab type superstructure (Vermont Agency of Transportation, written communication, August 23, 1994). The bridge is supported by vertical, concrete abutments with wingwalls. The channel is skewed approximately 30 degrees to the opening while the opening-skew-to-roadway is 45 degrees.

A scour hole 1 ft deeper than the mean thalweg depth was observed along a bedrock outcrop near the upstream left wingwall during the Level I assessment. The scour protection measures in place at the site are type-1 stone fill (less than 12 inches diameter) along the left abutment, upstream right bank, and both downstream banks; type-2 stone fill (less than 36 inches diameter) at the downstream side of the right road approach and upstream left bank; type-3 stone fill (less than 48 inches diameter) at the upstream end of the upstream right wingwall and downstream end of downstream left wingwall; type-5 (wall/ artificial levee) at the upstream end of the upstream left wingwall. 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 1.4 ft. The worst-case contraction scour occurred at the 100-year discharge. Abutment scour ranged from 8.5 to 20.9 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, 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 25 (BRNAVT00120025) on State Highway 12, 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