Bridge Scour Vulnerability Assessment

by Lawrence J. Harrison, Federal Highway Administration, Washington, United States,
Johnny L. Morris, Federal Highway Administration, Washington, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Hydraulic Engineering


Although the failure of the New York Throughway bridge over Schoharie Creek in 1987 has focused national attention on scour related failures, other failures reinforce the need for implementing a program to identify scour critical bridges. In 1988, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) published Technical Advisory 5140.20 entitled 'Scour at Bridges' which recommends that every bridge over a scourable stream be evaluated for its vulnerability to scour. In this advisory, FHWA gives a five-step procedure for developing a scour evaluation program by: establishing an interdisciplinary team of hydraulic, geotechnical, and structural engineers; designing new bridges to withstand the effects of scour from a superflood i.e. a 500-year flood; evaluating all existing bridges for the risk of scour failure from such a superflood; developing a plan of action for scour critical bridges; and inspecting all bridges for scour related problems.

Subject Headings: Scour | Bridge tests | Bridge failures | Bridge design | Bridge engineering | Failure analysis | Infrastructure vulnerability | New York | United States

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