Scour-Hole Dimensions at Selected Bridge Piers in New York

by Gerard K. Butch,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: North American Water and Environment Congress & Destructive Water


Knowledge of scour-hole dimensions can be used by bridge engineers to deter mine the extent of countermeasures needed to prevent scour at bridge piers. Scour-hole widths at 128 piers, and scour-hole lengths at 40 piers were computed. These dimensions are a function of scour depth and the average slope of the streambed in a scour hole. Average streambed slopes in a scour hole were generally less than 15, and most maximum slopes were less than 27. The median scour-hole width measured perpendicularly from the upstream side of a pier was 2.7 m, and large widths were common at sites with debris. The median ratio of scour-hole width to scour depth was 4.7, and the median ratio of scour-hole width to pier width was 1.6. The maximum ratio of scour depth to pier width was 1.7. The median scour-hole length measured upstream from a pier was 3.6 m, and the median length measured downstream from the nose of a pier was 5.6 m. The median ratio of upstream scour-hole length to pier width was 2.5 and the median ratio of downstream scour-hole length to pier length was 0.4. The lowest streambed elevation in a scour hole was com monly less than 1 pier width from the upstream side of a pier.

Subject Headings: Scour | Piers | Rivers and streams | Slopes | Bridge engineering | Field tests | River bank stabilization | New York | United States

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