Level II scour analysis for Bridge 22 (REDSVT01000022) on State Route 100, crossing the West Branch Deerfield River, Readsboro, Vermont

Open-File Report 97-191

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 REDSVT01000022 on State Route 100 crossing the West Branch Deerfield River, Readsboro, 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 25.6-mi2 drainage area is in a predominantly rural and forested basin. In the vicinity of the study site, the surface cover is forest. In the study area, the West Branch Deerfield River has an incised, straight channel with a slope of approximately 0.025 ft/ft, an average channel top width of 63 ft and an average channel depth of 10 ft. The predominant channel bed materials are cobbles and boulders with some bedrock exposure noted under the bridge. The bed material has a median grain size (D50) of 141.0 mm (0.463 ft). The geomorphic assessment at the time of the Level I and Level II site visit on July 30, 1996, indicated that the reach was stable. The State Route 100 crossing of the West Branch Deerfield River is a 119-ft-long, two-lane bridge consisting of one 110-foot steel-beam span (Vermont Agency of Transportation, written communication, September 28, 1995). The bridge is supported by vertical, concrete abutments with spill-through embankments. The channel is skewed approximately 50 degrees to the opening while the opening-skew-to-roadway is 50 degrees. The scour protection measure at the site was type-3 stone fill (less than 48 inches diameter) on the spill-through embankments of each abutment and the banks upstream and downstream. 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. There was no predicted contraction scour for any of the modelled flows. Abutment scour ranged from 4.9 to 11.6 ft. The worst-case abutment scour occurred at the right abutment for the 500-year discharge. However, historical information indicates the right abutment is in contact with bedrock at least in part. 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:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Level II scour analysis for Bridge 22 (REDSVT01000022) on State Route 100, crossing the West Branch Deerfield River, Readsboro, Vermont
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Pembroke, NH
iv, 49 p.
United States
Other Geospatial:
Deerfield River