Level II scour analysis for Bridge 19 (SHEFTH00440019) on Town Highway 44, crossing Trout Brook, Sheffield, Vermont

Open-File Report 97-817
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 SHEFTH00440019 on Town Highway 44 crossing Trout Brook, Sheffield, 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 White Mountain section of the New England physiographic province in northeastern Vermont. The 3.0-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 and downstream right overbanks, while the immediate banks have dense woody vegetation. The surface cover of the upstream and downstream left overbanks is shrub and brushland.

In the study area, Trout Brook has an incised, sinuous channel with a slope of approximately 0.03 ft/ft, an average channel top width of 45 ft and an average bank height of 6 ft. The channel bed material ranges from sand to boulder with a median grain size (D50) of 116 mm (0.381 ft). The geomorphic assessment at the time of the Level I and Level II site visit on July 31, 1995, indicated that the reach was stable.

The Town Highway 44 crossing of Trout Brook is a 24-ft-long, one-lane bridge consisting of a 22-foot steel-stringer span (Vermont Agency of Transportation, written communication, March 28, 1994). The opening length of the structure parallel to the bridge face is 19.8 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-to-roadway is zero degrees.

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 was 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 resulted in zero ft. Left abutment scour ranged from 4.4 to 5.6 ft. The worst-case left abutment scour occurred at the 500-year discharge. Right abutment scour ranged from 3.6 to 4.8 ft. The worst-case right 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 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 Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Level II scour analysis for Bridge 19 (SHEFTH00440019) on Town Highway 44, crossing Trout Brook, Sheffield, Vermont
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 97-817
DOI 10.3133/ofr97817
Year Published 1997
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Pembroke, NH
Description iv, 50 p.
Country United States
State Vermont
City Sheffield
Other Geospatial Trout Brook