Level II scour analysis for Bridge 30 (MNTGTH00410030) on Town Highway 41, crossing the Trout River, Montgomery, Vermont

Open-File Report 97-396

Prepared in cooperation with Vermont Agency of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration
and ORCID iD



This report provides the results of a detailed Level II analysis of scour potential at structure MNTGTH00410030 on Town Highway 41 crossing the Trout River, Montgomery, 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 northern Vermont. The 46.1-mi2 drainage area is in a predominantly rural and forested basin. In the vicinity of the study site, the surface cover on the left bank is pasture upstream and downstream of the bridge with dense woody vegetation along the immediate banks. The upstream and downstream right bank surface cover is brush. In the study area, the Trout River has an incised, meandering channel with a slope of approximately 0.005 ft/ft, an average channel top width of 130 ft and an average bank height of 6 ft. The channel bed material ranges from sand to cobble with a median grain size (D50) of 68.3 mm (0.224 ft). The geomorphic assessment at the time of the Level I and Level II site visit on June 27, 1995, indicated that the reach was laterally unstable. At this site there is visible lateral channel movement upstream and downstream of the bridge with meanders and cut banks. The Town Highway 41 crossing of the Trout River is a 90-ft-long, one-lane bridge consisting of one 87-foot steel-beam span (Vermont Agency of Transportation, written communication, August 3, 1994). The opening length of the structure parallel to the bridge face is 86.7 ft.The bridge is supported by vertical, concrete abutments with wingwalls. The channel is skewed approximately 10 degrees to the opening while the opening-skew-toroadway is 0 degrees. A scour hole 4.5 ft deeper than the mean thalweg depth, was observed 35 ft downstream of the bridge during the Level I assessment. The scour counter-measures at the site included type-1 stone fill (less than 12 inches diameter) at the upstream left wingwall, at the left abutment, along the upstream right bank, and at the upstream end of the downstream left wingwall. There was also type-2 stone fill (less than 36 inches diameter) along the downstream right 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 all modelled flows was 0.0 ft. Abutment scour ranged from 2.5 to 8.9 ft. The worst-case abutment scour occurred at the 500-year discharge. The computed scour depths are well above the pile depths set in bedrock. Additional information on scour depths and depths to armoring are included in the section titled “Scour Results”. Scouredstreambed 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 particlesize 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 30 (MNTGTH00410030) on Town Highway 41, crossing the Trout River, Montgomery, Vermont
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Pembroke, NH
iv, 51 p.
United States
Other Geospatial:
Trout River