Field Performance of an Acoustic Scour-Depth Monitoring System

by Robert R. Mason, Jr., (M.ASCE), U.S. Geological Survey, Raleigh, United States,
D. Max Sheppard, U.S. Geological Survey, Raleigh, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Fundamentals and Advancements in Hydraulic Measurements and Experimentation


The Herbert C. Bonner Bridge over Oregon Inlet serves as the only land link between Bodie and Hatteras Islands, part of the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Periodic soundings over the past 30 years have documented channel migration, local scour, and deposition at several pilings that support the bridge. In September 1992, a data-collection system was installed to permit the off-site monitoring of scour at 16 bridge pilings. The system records channel-bed elevations at 15-minute intervals and transmits the data to a satellite receiver. A cellular phone connection also permits downloading and reviewing of the data as they are being collected. A digitally recording, acoustic fathometer is the main component of the system. In November 1993, current velocity, water-surface elevation, wave characteristics, and water temperature measuring instruments were also deployed at the site. Several performance problems relating to the equipment and to the harsh marine environment have not been resolved, but the system has collected and transmitted reliable scour-depth and water-level data.

Subject Headings: Scour | Acoustics | Flow measurement | Data collection | Bridges | Satellites | Wave velocity | North Carolina | Oregon | United States

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