Level II scour analysis for Bridge 7 (ANDOTH00010007) on Town Highway 1, crossing Andover Brook, Andover, Vermont

Open-File Report 97-186

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 ANDOTH00010007 on Town Highway 1 crossing Andover Branch, Andover, 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 in southern Vermont. The 7.21-mi2 drainage area is in a predominantly rural and forested basin. In the vicinity of the study site, the surface cover is pasture upstream of the bridge while the immediate banks have dense woody vegetation. Downstream of the bridge, the banks and overbanks are forested.

In the study area, Andover Branch has an incised, sinuous channel with a slope of approximately 0.02 ft/ft, an average channel top width of 45 ft and an average bank height of 5 ft. The channel bed material ranges from gravel to boulder with a median grain size (D50) of 58.0 mm (0.19 ft). The geomorphic assessment at the time of the Level I and Level II site visit on August 28, 1996, indicated that the reach was laterally unstable due to evidence of lateral movement of the channel 200 feet upstream along the left bank and near the bridge along the right bank.

The Town Highway 1 crossing of Andover Branch is a 32-ft-long, two-lane bridge consisting of one 29-foot concrete slab span (Vermont Agency of Transportation, written communication, March 28, 1995). The bridge is supported by vertical, concrete abutments with wingwalls. The channel is skewed approximately 10 degrees to the opening while the opening-skew-to-roadway is 0 degrees.

The scour protection measures at the site included type-2 stone fill (less than 36 inches diameter) along the entire base length of the upstream wingwalls and type-3 stone fill (less than 48 inches diameter) along the entire base length of the downstream wingwalls and the right abutment. 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 1.6 ft. The worst-case contraction scour occurred at the 100-year discharge. Abutment scour ranged from 7.1 to 10.7 ft at the right abutment with the worst-case abutment scour occurring at the 500-year discharge. Abutment scour ranged from 7.5 to 8.3 ft at the left abutment with the worst-case abutment scour occurring at the incipient road overtopping 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. 46). 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 7 (ANDOTH00010007) on Town Highway 1, crossing Andover Brook, Andover, Vermont
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Pembroke, NH
iv, 50 p.
United States
Other Geospatial:
Andover Branch