Level II scour analysis for Bridge 25 (ANDOTH00230025) on Town Highway 23, crossing Andover Branch, Andover, Vermont

Open-File Report 97-372

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 ANDOTH00230025 on Town Highway 23 crossing the 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 south-central Vermont. The 6.74-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 right overbank and forest on the left overbank while the immediate banks, both upstream and downstream, are forested.

In the study area, the Andover Branch has an incised, sinuous channel with a slope of approximately 0.02 ft/ft, an average channel top width of 55 ft and an average bank height of 9 ft. The channel bed material ranges from gravel to boulder with a median grain size (D50) of 78.4 mm (0.257 ft). The geomorphic assessment at the time of the Level I and Level II site visit on August 27, 1996, indicated that the reach was stable.

The Town Highway 23 crossing of the Andover Branch is a 25-ft-long, two-lane structure consisting of a multi-plate corrugated steel arch culvert with concrete footings (Vermont Agency of Transportation, written communication, March 29, 1995). The culvert is mitered at the inlet and outlet. The channel is skewed approximately zero degrees to the opening while the opening-skew-to-roadway is zero degrees.

The footings are exposed approximately 1.25 ft, with the exception of the downstream end of the right footing which is exposed approximately 0.5 ft. The only scour protection measure at the site was type-2 stone fill (less than 36 inches diameter) along the upstream left bank. 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 for modelled flows ranged from 1.6 to 2.8 ft. The worst-case contraction scour occurred at the 500-year discharge. Abutment scour ranged from 10.0 to 11.7 ft along the left footing and from 11.8 to 16.7 along the right footing. The worst-case abutment 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 crosssection 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 25 (ANDOTH00230025) on Town Highway 23, crossing Andover Branch, Andover, Vermont
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Pembroke, NH
iv, 47 p.
United States
Other Geospatial:
Andover Branch