Level II scour analysis for Bridge 46 (FFIETH00470046) on Town Highway 47, crossing Black Creek, Fairfield, Vermont
Open-File Report 98-424
Prepared in cooperation with Vermont Agency of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration
- Emily C. Wild and Robert H. Flynn
This report provides the results of a detailed Level II analysis of scour potential at structure FFIETH00470046 on Town Highway 47 crossing Black Creek, Fairfield, 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, 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 in northwestern Vermont. The 37.8 mi2 drainage area is in a predominantly rural and forested basin. In the vicinity of the study site, the surface cover is pasture upstream and downstream of the bridge while the immediate banks have dense woody vegetation.
In the study area, Black Creek has a meandering channel with a slope of approximately 0.0005 ft/ft, an average channel top width of 51 ft and an average bank height of 6 ft. The channel bed material ranges from sand to bedrock with a median grain size (D50) of 0.189 mm (0.00062 ft). The geomorphic assessment at the time of the Level I and Level II site visit on July 12, 1995, indicated that the reach was stable.
The Town Highway 47 crossing of Black Creek is a 35-ft-long, one-lane bridge consisting of one 31-ft steel-stringer span (Vermont Agency of Transportation, written communication, March 8, 1995). The opening length of the structure parallel to the bridge face is 28.0 ft. The bridge is supported by vertical, laid-up stone abutments with wingwalls. The channel is skewed approximately zero degrees to the opening and the opening-skew-toroadway is zero degrees.
A scour hole 6.0 ft deeper than the mean thalweg depth was observed just downstream of the bridge during the Level I assessment. Scour protection measures at the site included type-1 stone fill (less than 12 inches diameter) along the left abutment. Type-2 stone fill (less than 36 inches diameter) extended along the upstream left and right banks, the upstream left and right wingwalls, the downstream left wingwall, and the downstream left 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 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 1.4 to 8.2 ft. The worst-case contraction scour occurred at the incipient roadway-overtopping discharge, which was less than the 100-year discharge. Abutment scour ranged from 5.8 to 15.6 ft. At the left abutment, the worst-case abutment scour occurred at the 100-year discharge, and at the right abutment 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 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 46 (FFIETH00470046) on Town Highway 47, crossing Black Creek, Fairfield, Vermont
- Series title:
- Open-File Report
- Series number:
- Year Published:
- U.S. Geological Survey
- Publisher location:
- Pembroke, NH
- iv, 52 p.
- United States