Level II scour analysis for Bridge 15 (BRIDTH00220015) on Town Highway 22, crossing Dailey Hollow Branch, Bridgewater, Vermont

Open-File Report 96-403

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 BRIDTH00220015 on town highway 22 crossing Dailey Hollow Branch, Bridgewater, 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). Results of a Level I scour investigation also are included in Appendix E of this report. A Level I investigation provides a qualitative geomorphic characterization of the study site. Information on the bridge, gleaned from Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTAOT) files, was compiled prior to conducting Level I and Level II analyses and is found in Appendix D.

The site is in the Green Mountain section of the New England physiographic province of central Vermont in the town of Bridgewater. The 1.73-mi2 drainage area is a predominantly rural and forested basin. In the vicinity of the study site, the left and right banks have dense tree cover. The upstream right bank of Dailey Hollow Branch is adjacent to town highway 22.

In the study area, Dailey Hollow Branch has a sinuous channel with a slope of approximately 0.035 ft/ft, an average channel top width of 30 ft and an average channel depth of 4 ft. The predominant channel bed material is cobble with a median grain size (D50) of 108 mm (0.354 ft). The geomorphic assessment at the time of the Level I and Level II site visit on November 1 and 2, 1994, indicates that the reach is stable.

The town highway 22 crossing of Dailey Hollow Branch is a 22-ft-long, one-lane bridge consisting of one 22-ft. steel-beam span (Vermont Agency of Transportation, written communication, August 24, 1994). The bridge is supported by vertical, concrete abutments with wingwalls. Type-1 stone fill (less than 12 inches diameter) protects the left abutment, but it’s condition was reported as eroded. Type-2 stone fill (less than 36 inches diameter) protects the upstream left wingwall; it’s condition was reported as slumping.The channel is skewed approximately 40 degrees to the opening while the opening-skew-to-roadway is 0 degrees. 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 0.2 ft. with the worst-case contraction scour occurring at the 500-year discharge. Abutment scour ranged from 4.2 to 6.4 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. 47). 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 15 (BRIDTH00220015) on Town Highway 22, crossing Dailey Hollow Branch, Bridgewater, Vermont
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Pembroke, NH
iv, 48 p.
United States
Other Geospatial:
Dailey Hollow Branch