Using Geophysical Data to Assess Scour Development

by Gary Placzek, U.S. Geological Survey, Hartford, United States,
F. Peter Haeni, U.S. Geological Survey, Hartford, United States,
Roy Trent, U.S. Geological Survey, Hartford, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Hydraulic Engineering


The development of scour holes in the Connecticut River near the new Baldwin Bridge has been documented by comparing geophysical records collected before (1989), during (1990), and after (1992) bridge construction. Eight piers that support the 570-m (meter) span over the Connecticut River were protected by 12-m wide cofferdams during construction. The maximum flow during the study was equivalent to a 3-year recurrence-interval flood, indicating no significant floods. Fathometer data indicate that deep scour holes, 1.5 to 6.4 m deep, developed north of piers 6, 7, and 8. Scour holes, less than 1.3 m-deep, developed south of these piers. The deepest scour hole was north of pier 7, where data show a flat river bottom in 1989, a scour 3.3-m deep in 1990, and a scour hole 6.4-m deep in 1992. Continuous seismic-profiling (CSP) data show that a 1.5 -m deep scour hole north of pier 6 in 1990 was filled in with 1.5-m of material by 1992. No infilling was detected in the scour holes north of piers 7 and 8. Numerous subbottom reflectors from geologic layers, up to 7.6 -m deep were identified in the CSP records.

Subject Headings: Scour | Floods | Infrastructure construction | Cofferdams | Hydrologic data | River and stream beds | Seismic tests | Rivers and streams | Connecticut | United States

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