Level II scour analysis for Bridge 28 (HARDTH00300028) on Town Highway 30, crossing the Lamoille River, Hardwick, Vermont

Open-File Report 96-569
Prepared in cooperation with Vermont Agency of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration
By:  and 



This report provides the results of a detailed Level II analysis of scour potential at structure HARDTH00300028 on town highway 30 crossing the Lamoille River, Hardwick, 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 New England Upland section of the New England physiographic province in north-central Vermont. The 63.7-mi2 drainage area is in a predominantly rural and forested basin. In the vicinity of the study site, the surface cover upstream and on the downstream right is primarily pasture with some row crops. Trees line the immediate channel banks. The left bank downstream surface cover is primarily brush.

In the study area, the Lamoille River has an incised, sinuous channel with a slope of approximately 0.002 ft/ft, an average channel top width of 76 ft and an average bank height of 6 ft. The predominant channel bed materials are gravel and cobble with a median grain size (D50) of 46.6 mm (0.153 ft). The geomorphic assessment at the time of the Level I and Level II site visit on July 25, 1995, indicated that the reach was laterally unstable. The site was revisited on August 21, 1995, after the August 5-6, 1995 flood on the Lamoille River. Findings from this follow-up visit are presented in Appendix G.

The town highway 30 crossing of the Lamoille River is a 54-ft-long, one-lane bridge consisting of one 52-foot steel-beam span (Vermont Agency of Transportation, written communication, April 3, 1995). The bridge is supported by vertical, stone abutments with wingwalls. Scour, about one foot below the mean thalweg, exists along the right abutment and right upstream wingwall. Sheet piling has been driven around the right abutment and wingwalls and filled with concrete. The channel is skewed approximately 5 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, 1995). 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 1.9 to 2.5 ft. The worst-case contraction scour occurred at the 100-year discharge. Abutment scour ranged from 11.2 to 17.8 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, 1995, 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 Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Level II scour analysis for Bridge 28 (HARDTH00300028) on Town Highway 30, crossing the Lamoille River, Hardwick, Vermont
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 96-569
DOI 10.3133/ofr96569
Year Published 1996
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Pembroke, NH
Description iv, 64 p.
Country United States
State Vermont
City Hardwick
Other Geospatial Lamoille River
Scale 24000
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