Level II scour analysis for Bridge 41 (ANDOVT00110041) on State Route 11, crossing the Middle Branch Williams River, Andover, Vermont

Open-File Report 97-771

Prepared in cooperation with Vermont Agency of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration
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This report provides the results of a detailed Level II analysis of scour potential at structure ANDOVT00110041 on State Route 11 crossing the Middle Branch Williams River, 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 southeastern Vermont. The 12.1-mi2 drainage area is in a predominantly rural and forested basin. In the vicinity of the study site, the surface cover is grass on the upstream right overbank while the immediate banks have dense woody vegetation. The upstream left overbank and downstream right overbank are brushland. The downstream left overbank is forested.

In the study area, the Middle Branch Williams River has an incised, sinuous channel with a slope of approximately 0.018 ft/ft, an average channel top width of 71 ft and an average bank height of 4 ft. The channel bed material ranges from gravel to boulders with a median grain size (D50) of 85.0 mm (0.279 ft). The geomorphic assessment at the time of the Level I and Level II site visit on September 10, 1996, indicated that the reach was laterally unstable due to a cut-bank present on the upstream right bank and a wide channel bar with vegetation in the upstream reach.

The State Route 11 crossing of the Middle Branch Williams River is a 46-ft-long, two-lane bridge consisting of a concrete 44-foot tee-beam span (Vermont Agency of Transportation, written communication, March 29, 1995). The opening length of the structure parallel to the bridge face is 42 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-toroadway is zero degrees. 

A scour hole 0.8 ft deeper than the mean thalweg depth was observed along the downstream end of the left abutment and downstream left wingwall during the Level I assessment. Type- 2 stone fill (less than 36 inches diameter) protects the upstream end of the upstream left wingwall, the downstream ends of the downstream left and right wingwalls and the downstream right road embankment. Type-3 stone fill protects the upstream end of the upstream right wingwall and the upstream 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). In addition, the incipient roadway-overtopping discharge was determined and analyzed as another potential 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 2.1 ft. The worst-case contraction scour occurred at the 500-year discharge. Abutment scour ranged from 11.1 to 18.7 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:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Level II scour analysis for Bridge 41 (ANDOVT00110041) on State Route 11, crossing the Middle Branch Williams River, Andover, Vermont
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Pembroke, NH
iv, 52 p.
United States
Other Geospatial:
Williams River