Level II scour analysis for Bridge 80 (JAMAVT01000080) on State Highway 100, crossing the West River, Jamaica, Vermont

Open-File Report 97-214
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 JAMAVT01000080 on State Route 100 crossing the West River, Jamaica, 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 227-mi2 drainage area is in a predominantly rural and forested basin. In the vicinity of the study site, the surface cover is pasture on the upstream left bank and downstream of the bridge while the immediate banks have dense woody vegetation. The upstream right bank of the bridge is forested. In the study area, the West River has an incised, straight channel with a slope of approximately 0.01 ft/ft, an average channel top width of 309 ft and an average bank height of 10 ft. The channel bed material is predominantly cobble with a median grain size (D50) of 109 mm (0.359 ft). The geomorphic assessment at the time of the Level I and Level II site visit on August 13, 1996, indicated that the reach was stable. The State Route 100 crossing of the West River is a 246-ft-long, one-lane steel thru-truss bridge consisting of three spans, the longest is 161-feet (Vermont Agency of Transportation, written communication, March 30, 1995). The bridge is supported by vertical, concrete abutments and two piers. The channel is skewed approximately 5 degrees to the opening while there is no opening-skew-to-roadway. A scour hole 3 ft deeper than the mean thalweg depth was observed along the streamward (right) side of the left pier during the Level I assessment. A scour hole 5 ft deeper than the mean thalweg depth was observed along the streamward (left) side of the right pier during the Level I assessment. The only scour protection measure at the site was type-2 stone fill (less than 36 inches diameter) along the left and right bank below the abutments forming a “spill-through” slope at each abutment. 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. There was no computed contraction scour. Abutment scour ranged from 15.8 to 23.9 ft. The worst-case abutment scour occurred at the 500-year discharge. Pier scour ranged from 9.5 to 22.8 ft. The worst-case pier 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

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Level II scour analysis for Bridge 80 (JAMAVT01000080) on State Highway 100, crossing the West River, Jamaica, Vermont
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 97-214
DOI 10.3133/ofr97214
Year Published 1997
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Pembroke, NH
Description iv, 52 p.
Country United States
State Vermont
City Jamaica
Other Geospatial West River
Scale 25000
Google Analytics Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details