Level II scour analysis for Bridge 49 (WODSTH00990049) on Town Highway 99, crossing Gulf Brook, Woodstock, Vermont

Open-File Report 96-639
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 WODSTH00990049 on Town Highway 99 crossing the Gulf Brook, Woodstock, 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 east-central Vermont. The 16.8-mi2 drainage area is in a predominantly rural and forested basin. In the vicinity of the study site, the primary surface cover is pasture except for upstream right of the bridge which is cover by trees and brush. The immediate banks throughout the reach have scattered woody vegetation. In the study area, the Gulf Brook has an incised, sinuous channel with a slope of approximately 0.01 ft/ft, an average channel top width of 91 ft and an average channel depth of 6 ft. The channel bed materials range from sand to cobble with a median grain size (D50) of 85.3 mm (0.280 ft). The geomorphic assessment at the time of the Level I site visits on September 15, 1994 and December 14, 1994, indicated that the reach was stable. The Town Highway 99 crossing of the Gulf Brook is a 56-ft-long, one-lane bridge consisting of one 55-foot steel-beam span (Vermont Agency of Transportation, written communication, April 4, 1995). The bridge is supported by vertical, concrete abutments with a spill-through slope constructed of large quarried stone. The channel is skewed approximately 20 degrees to the opening while the opening-skew-to-roadway is 0 degrees. Erosion at the right abutment has undermined the toe of the spill-through slope by nearly a foot. Material has been removed from under the stone spill-through slope so that 0.5 feet of horizontal penetration was possible at the time of the visits. 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 0.0 to 0.9 ft. The worst-case contraction scour occurred at the 500-year discharge. Abutment scour at the left abutment ranged from 3.1 to 10.3 ft. with the worst-case occurring at the 500-year discharge. Abutment scour at the right abutment ranged from 6.4 to 10.4 ft. with the worst-case occurring at the 100-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

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Level II scour analysis for Bridge 49 (WODSTH00990049) on Town Highway 99, crossing Gulf Brook, Woodstock, Vermont
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 96-639
DOI 10.3133/ofr96639
Year Published 1996
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Description iv, 50 p.
Country United States
State Vermont
City Woodstock
Other Geospatial Gulf Brook
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details