Threats to Bridge Stability from Scour Related Failures of Drop Structures

by Noel E. Bormann, Gonzaga Univ, Spokane, United States,
Michael E. Zeller, Gonzaga Univ, Spokane, United States,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Hydraulic Engineering

Abstract: Catastrophic failure of bridge foundations may occur when channel bed elevations are lowered unexpectedly. Bridges to be constructed in channels that are known to have bed degradation may be protected from failure by designing foundations that will survive the anticipated bed elevation changes, by protecting the foundations from experiencing the bed elevation change with a drop structure placed downstream of the bridge, or a combination of these approaches. Should protective measures themselves fail, bridges are exposed to new types of threats. These threats are functions of the time rate of scour at the failed drop structure, the scour volume, and the hydraulic characteristics of the flow event in time. Qualitative assessment of these factors and the evaluation of the resulting threats to bridges will help engineers manage bridge construction, maintenance and to prepare for measures that may be necessary to protect bridges from scour threats.

Subject Headings: Failure analysis | Bridge foundations | Scour | Bridge failures | Drop structures | Infrastructure construction | Bridge design | Structural failures

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