Level II scour analysis for Bridge 43 (BENNCYDEPO0043) on Depot Street, crossing the Walloomsac River, Bennington, Vermont

Open-File Report 97-346

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 BENNCYDEPO0043 on the Depot 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 parking lots on overbanks.

In the study area, the Walloomsac River has a straight channel with constructed channel banks through much of the reach. The channel is located on a delta and has a slope of approximately 0.02 ft/ft, an average channel top width of 48 ft and an average bank height of 6 ft. The predominant channel bed material is cobble with a median grain size (D50) of 108 mm (0.356 ft). The geomorphic assessment at the time of the Level I and Level II site visit on August 5, 1996, indicated that the reach was stable.

The Depot Street crossing of the Walloomsac River is a 46-ft-long, two-lane bridge consisting of one 40-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 5 degrees to the opening and the opening-skew-to-roadway is 15 degrees.

Scour countermeasures at the site include type-2 stone fill (less than 36 inches diameter) at the upstream end of the upstream right wing wall and type-1 stone fill (less than 12 inches diameter) along the base of the upstream left wing wall. Downstream banks are protected by concrete and stone walls. The upstream right bank is protected by alternating type-2 stone fill and masonry walls. 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 ranged from 0.0 to 4.1 ft. The worst-case contraction scour occurred at the 500-year discharge. Computed right abutment scour ranged from 2.9 to 13.4 ft. with the worst-case scour occurring at the 500-year discharge. Computed left abutment scour ranged from 5.6 to 16.3 ft. with the worst-case scour also occurring 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

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Level II scour analysis for Bridge 43 (BENNCYDEPO0043) on Depot Street, crossing the Walloomsac River, Bennington, 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:
Walloomsac River