The evaluation of scour at bridges throughout the state of Missouri has been ongoing since 1991 in a cooperative effort by the U.S. Geological Survey and Missouri Department of Transportation. A variety of assessment methods have been used to identify bridges susceptible to scour and to estimate scour depths. A potential-scour assessment (Level 1) was used at 3,082 bridges to identify bridges that might be susceptible to scour. A rapid estimation method (Level 1+) was used to estimate contraction, pier, and abutment scour depths at 1,396 bridge sites to identify bridges that might be scour critical. A detailed hydraulic assessment (Level 2) was used to compute contraction, pier, and abutment scour depths at 398 bridges to determine which bridges are scour critical and would require further monitoring or application of scour countermeasures.
The rapid estimation method (Level 1+) was designed to be a conservative estimator of scour depths compared to depths computed by a detailed hydraulic assessment (Level 2). Detailed hydraulic assessments were performed at 316 bridges that also had received a rapid estimation assessment, providing a broad data base to compare the two scour assessment methods. The scour depths computed by each of the two methods were compared for bridges that had similar discharges. For Missouri, the rapid estimation method (Level 1+) did not provide a reasonable conservative estimate of the detailed hydraulic assessment (Level 2) scour depths for contraction scour, but the discrepancy was the result of using different values for variables that were common to both of the assessment methods. The rapid estimation method (Level 1+) was a reasonable conservative estimator of the detailed hydraulic assessment (Level 2) scour depths for pier scour if the pier width is used for piers without footing exposure and the footing width is used for piers with footing exposure. Detailed hydraulic assessment (Level 2) scour depths were conservatively estimated by the rapid estimation method (Level 1+) for abutment scour, but there was substantial variability in the estimates and several substantial underestimations.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Potential-scour assessments and estimates of scour depth using different techniques at selected bridge sites in Missouri