Hydraulic Analysis of the Schoharie Creek Bridge

by David C. Froehlich, US Geological Survey, United States,
Roy E. Trent, US Geological Survey, United States,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Hydraulic Engineering

Abstract: Ten people died on April 5, 1987 as a result of the collapse of two spans of a New York State Thruway bridge into the floodwaters of Schoharie Creek. The cause of the bridge failure was determined to be scour of bed material from under the foundations of piers supporting the bridge. To evaluate the hydraulic conditions that produced the scour, a two-dimensional finite element surface-water flow model was constructed. The model was used to obtain a detailed description of water-surface elevations and depth-averaged velocities within a reach that extends from about 4000 ft downstream of the bridge to about 6000 ft upstream of the bridge.

Subject Headings: Hydraulics | Rivers and streams | Highway bridges | Hydraulic models | Bridge tests | Bridge foundations | Bridge failures | Terrain models | Scour | Material failures | North America | United States | New York

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