Development of Bridge-Scour Instrumentation for Inspection and Maintenance Personnel

by David S. Mueller, U.S. Geological Survey, Louisville, United States,
Mark N. Landers, U.S. Geological Survey, Louisville, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Hydraulic Engineering


Inspecting bridges and monitoring scour during high flow can improve public transportation safety by providing early identification of scour and stream stability problems at bridges. Most bridge-inspection data are collected during low flow, when scour holes may have refilled. More than 25 percent of the States that responded to a questionnaire identified lack of adequate methodology and/or equipment as reasons for not collecting scour data during high-flow conditions. Therefore, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration, has begun to develop instrumentation for measuring scour that could be used by inspection and maintenance personnel during high-flow conditions. A variety of instruments and techniques for measuring scour were tested and evaluated in real-time bridge-scour data-collection studies by the USGS. In the National Scour study, fathometers were found to be superior to sounding weights and will be the primary bed-measuring instrument. The ability of low-cost fathometers and fish finders to locate the bed accurately is being evaluated. Simple and efficient methods for deploying the transducer during floods are also important for a successful measurement. The information and additional testing are being used to design new, portable scour-measuring systems.

Subject Headings: Scour | Bridges | Inspection | Maintenance and operation | Instrumentation | Personnel management | Data collection | Federal government

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