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Research Yields New Tools for Assessing Scour Risk to Bridges

Posted: Aug 16, 2022

Research at South Dakota State University will provide bridge engineers with design tools that will substantially reduce the cost of some bridge foundations and protect existing bridge foundations from the damaging effects of scour, the erosion of soil from around those foundations. Scour rates in cohesive soils (SRICOS) simulations were conducted for pier scour at several bridges across South Dakota and analyzed to better understand the relationship between time sequence of flows, rate of scour, and final scour depth to answer the fundamental question of how the characteristics of a hydrograph, such as flood magnitude and duration, and the order of flood occurrence would influence scour development in cohesive soils. The results of this research give the design engineer a screening tool to identify bridge sites where the SRICOS method may be beneficial or more appropriate than the traditional methods and second, by providing a step-by-step procedure to generate flood hydrographs for scour prediction using the SRICOS method and assessing the scour risk.

Francis C.K. Ting, Ph.D.
South Dakota State University

Flood Hydrograph Generation for Predicting Bridge Scour in Cohesive Soils

NDSU Dept 2880P.O. Box 6050Fargo, ND 58108-6050