Level II scour analysis for Bridge 25 (ROCHTH00400025) on Town Highway 40, crossing Corporation Brook, Rochester, Vermont

Open-File Report 98-160

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 ROCHTH00400025 on Town Highway 40 crossing Corporation Brook, Rochester, 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 (FHWA, 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, from Vermont Agency of Transportation 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 4.97-mi2 drainage area is in a predominantly rural and forested basin. In the vicinity of the study site, the surface cover is forest on the upstream left and right overbanks, and the downstream left overbank. On the downstream right overbank, the surface cover is predominately brushland.

In the study area, Corporation Brook has an incised, sinuous channel with a slope of approximately 0.04 ft/ft, an average channel top width of 37 ft and an average bank height of 6 ft. The channel bed material ranges from gravel to boulders with a median grain size (D50) of 101 mm (0.332 ft). The geomorphic assessment at the time of the Level I site visit on April 12, 1995 and Level I and II site visit on July 8, 1996, indicated that the reach was stable.

The Town Highway 40 crossing of Corporation Brook is a 31-ft-long, one-lane bridge consisting of a 26-foot steel stringer span (Vermont Agency of Transportation, written communication, March 22, 1995). The opening length of the structure parallel to the bridge face is 24 ft. The bridge is supported by vertical, concrete abutments. The channel is skewed approximately 15 degrees to the opening while the opening-skew-to-roadway is 15 degrees.

A scour hole 1.0 ft deeper than the mean thalweg depth was observed in the channel at the downstream bridge face during the Level I assessment. Additionally, it was observed that the left abutment footing was exposed 1.0 ft and the right abutment footing was exposed 2.0 ft. Scour countermeasures at the site included type-1 stone fill (less than 12 inches diameter) along the upstream left and right banks and the downstream left bank. Type-2 stone fill (less than 36 inches diameter) scour protection extended along the downstream right bank and the upstream and downstream ends of the abutments. 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 Davis, 1995) for the 100- and 500-year discharges. 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 0.1 to 1.5 ft. The worst-case contraction scour occurred at the 500-year discharge. Left abutment scour ranged from 6.5 to 7.0 ft. The worst-case left abutment scour occurred at the 500-year discharge. Right abutment scour ranged from 5.6 to 6.0 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 particle-size distribution.

It is generally accepted that the Froehlich equation (abutment scour) gives “excessively conservative estimates of scour depths” (Richardson and Davis, 1995, p. 46). 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.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Level II scour analysis for Bridge 25 (ROCHTH00400025) on Town Highway 40, crossing Corporation Brook, Rochester, Vermont
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Pembroke, NH
iv, 51 p.
United States