Level II scour analysis for Bridge 42 (BENNCYSCHL0042) on School Street, crossing Walloomsac River, Bennington, Vermont

Open-File Report 97-208
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 BENNCYSCHL0042 on the School Street crossing of the Walloomsac River, Bennington, 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 southwestern Vermont. The 30.1-mi2 drainage area is a predominantly rural and forested basin. The bridge site is located within an urban setting in the Town of Bennington with buildings and residences on all overbanks. In the study area, the Walloomsac River has a straight channel with constructed channel banks downstream of the bridge. The channel is located on a delta and has a slope of approximately 0.02 ft/ft, an average channel top width of 37 ft and an average bank height of 6 ft. The predominant channel bed material is cobble with a median grain size (D50) of 132 mm (0.435 ft). The geomorphic assessment at the time of the Level I and Level II site visit on August 6, 1996, indicated that the reach was stable. The School Street crossing of the Walloomsac River is a 36-ft-long, two-lane bridge consisting of one 33-foot concrete span (Vermont Agency of Transportation, written communication, December 13, 1995). The bridge is supported by vertical, concrete abutments with wingwalls. The channel is skewed approximately zero degrees to the opening and the opening-skew-to-roadway is also zero degrees. Scour countermeasures at the site include type-2 stone fill (less than 36 inches diameter) along both upstream banks and upstream wingwalls. Downstream banks are protected by stone walls extending from the downstream wingwalls to more than 100 feet downstream. Additional details describing conditions at the site are included in the Level II Summary and Appendices D and E. Scour depths and recommended 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 computed for all modelled flows was 0.0 ft. Computed left abutment scour ranged from 9.4 to 10.2 ft. with the worst-case scour occurring at the 500-year discharge. Computed right abutment scour ranged from 2.7 to 5.7 ft. with the worst-case scour occurring at the incipient roadway-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. 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 42 (BENNCYSCHL0042) on School Street, crossing Walloomsac River, Bennington, Vermont
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 97-208
DOI 10.3133/ofr97208
Year Published 1997
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Pembroke, NH
Description iv, 51 p.
Country United States
State Vermont
City Bennington
Other Geospatial Walloomsac River
Scale 24000
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