Level II scour analysis for Bridge 8 (ANDOTH00010008) on Town Highway 1, crossing Andover Branch, Andover, Vermont

Open-File Report 97-374
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 ANDOTH00010008 on Town Highway 1 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 5.30-mi2 drainage area is in a predominantly rural and forested basin. In the vicinity of the study site, the surface cover along the immediate banks, both upstream and downstream of the bridge, is grass while farther upstream and downstream, the surface cover is primarily forest.

In the study area, the Andover Branch has an incised, straight channel with a slope of approximately 0.01 ft/ft, an average channel top width of 35 ft and an average bank height of 3 ft. The channel bed material ranges from gravel to boulder with a median grain size (D50) of 63.6 mm (0.209 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 1 crossing of the Andover Branch is a 54-ft-long, two-lane bridge consisting of one 51-foot steel-beam span (Vermont Agency of Transportation, written communication, March 28, 1995). The bridge is supported by vertical, concrete abutments with wingwalls. The channel is skewed approximately 45 degrees to the opening while the opening-skew-to-roadway is 30 degrees.

A scour hole 0.7 ft deeper than the mean thalweg depth was observed approximately 52 feet downstream of the downstream face of the bridge during the Level I assessment. Scour countermeasures at the site include type-2 stone fill (less than 36 inches diameter) along the entire base length of the left and right abutments and along the left bank from 65 ft to 89 ft upstream. Type-1 stone fill was found along the right bank from the bridge to 47 ft upstream and along the left bank from 40 ft to 65 ft upstream. 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.

Contraction scour for all modelled flows ranged from 0.0 to 0.1 ft. The worst case contraction scour occurred at the 500-year discharge. Abutment scour ranged from 5.0 to 8.1 ft along the left abutment and from 2.1 to 4.6 ft along the right abutment. 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 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 8 (ANDOTH00010008) on Town Highway 1, crossing Andover Branch, Andover, Vermont
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 97-374
DOI 10.3133/ofr97374
Year Published 1997
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Pembroke, NH
Description iv, 53 p.
Country United States
State Vermont
City Andover
Other Geospatial Andover Branch
Scale 24000
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