Level II scour analysis for Bridge 31 (JERITH00350031) on Town Highway 35, crossing Mill Brook, Jericho, Vermont

Open-File Report 97-767
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 JERITH00350031 on Town Highway 35 crossing Mill Brook, Jericho, 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, gathered 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 and the Champlain section of the St. Lawrence physiographic province in northwestern Vermont. The 15.7-mi2 drainage area is in a predominantly rural and forested basin. In the vicinity of the study site, the surface cover is forest upstream of the bridge. The downstream left overbank is pasture. The downstream right overbank is brushland.

In the study area, the Mill Brook has an incised, sinuous channel with a slope of approximately 0.02 ft/ft, an average channel top width of 117 ft and an average bank height of 11 ft. The channel bed material ranges from gravel to boulders with a median grain size (D50) of 81.1 mm (0.266 ft). The geomorphic assessment at the time of the Level I and Level II site visit on July 3, 1996, indicated that the reach was laterally unstable.

The Town Highway 35 crossing of the Mill Brook is a 53-ft-long, one-lane bridge consisting of a 50-foot steel-beam span with a wooden deck (Vermont Agency of Transportation, written communication, November 30, 1995). The opening length of the structure parallel to the bridge face is 48 ft. The bridge is supported by a vertical, concrete abutment with wingwalls on the left. On the right, the abutment and wingwalls are laid-up stone with a concrete cap. The channel is not skewed to the opening. The roadway is skewed 10 degrees to the opening.

A scour hole 1.5 ft deeper than the mean thalweg depth was observed along the left abutment during the Level I assessment. Scour countermeasures at the site were type-2 stone fill (less than 36 inches diameter) at the upstream and downstream left wingwalls, the upstream and downsteam left channel banks, and the downstream left road embankment. 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). 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 0.4 to 1.3 ft. The worst-case contraction scour occurred at the 500-year discharge. Left abutment scour ranged from 9.9 to 12.4 ft. Right abutment scour ranged from 13.8 to 17.8 ft. 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 31 (JERITH00350031) on Town Highway 35, crossing Mill Brook, Jericho, Vermont
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 97-767
DOI 10.3133/ofr97767
Year Published 1997
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Pembroke, NH
Description iv, 52 p.
Country United States
State Vermont
City Jericho
Other Geospatial Mill Brook
Scale 24000
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page