Level II scour analysis for Bridge 33 (HUNTTH00220033) on Town Highway 22, crossing Brush Brook, Huntington, Vermont

Open-File Report 97-664
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 HUNTTH00220033 on Town Highway 22 crossing Brush Brook, Huntington, 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 central Vermont. The 8.65-mi2 drainage area is in a predominantly rural and forested basin. In the vicinity of the study site, the surface cover is forest except on the downstream right overbank which is pasture.

In the study area, Brush Brook has an incised, straight channel with a slope of approximately 0.04 ft/ft, an average channel top width of 42 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 76.7 mm (0.252 ft). The geomorphic assessment at the time of the Level I and Level II site visit on June 26, 1996, indicated that the reach was stable.

The Town Highway 22 crossing of Brush Brook is a 40-ft-long, two-lane bridge consisting of one 23.5-foot concrete slab span (Vermont Agency of Transportation, written communication, November 30, 1995). The opening length of the structure parallel to the bridge face is 36.9 ft. The bridge is supported by vertical, concrete abutments with wingwalls. The channel is skewed approximately 35 degrees to the opening while the opening-skew-to-roadway is 30 degrees.

The scour protection measure at the site was type-2 stone fill (less than 36 inches diameter) along the left and right banks upstream that extended through the bridge and along the downstream banks. 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) for the 100- and 500-year discharges. In addition, the incipient roadway-overtopping discharge is analyzed since it has the potential of being the worst-case scour scenario. 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 1.1 ft. The worst-case contraction scour occurred at the 500-year discharge. Abutment scour ranged from 6.5 to 14.9 ft. The worst-case abutment scour occurred at the incipient roadway-overtopping 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 33 (HUNTTH00220033) on Town Highway 22, crossing Brush Brook, Huntington, Vermont
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 97-664
DOI 10.3133/ofr97664
Year Published 1997
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Pembroke, NH
Description iv, 51 p.
Country United States
State Vermont
City Huntington
Other Geospatial Brush Brook
Scale 24000
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