Local Scour at Bridge Piers in Alberta—Case History

by Alan Humphries, Alberta Transportation and Utilities, Edmonton, Canada,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Hydraulic Engineering


A two span steel truss bridge with a rectangular concrete central pier was built over the Oldman River near Brocket in south-west Alberta in 1954. Initially the bridge was built square to the river but the shifting river channel has progressively increased the flow skew at the bridge. In 1975 the Oldman River suffered an extreme flood event but no significant pier scour was observed. However by 1987 the skew angle was 45 degrees and a 3 m deep scour hole had formed at the pier. The maximum recorded flow between 1975 and 1987 had less than a 1 in 7 year return period. In 1988 the pier footing was protected with a heavy rock riprap apron.

Subject Headings: Piers | Scour | Steel bridges | Truss bridges | Span bridges | History | Bridge engineering | Bridge failures | Alberta | Canada

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