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Bathymetric and velocimetric surveys at highway bridges crossing the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers on the periphery of Missouri, July–August 2018

November 24, 2020

Bathymetric and velocimetric data were collected by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Transportation, near 7 bridges at 6 highway crossings of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers on the periphery of the State of Missouri from July 16 to August 13, 2018. A multibeam echosounder mapping system was used to obtain channel-bed elevations for river reaches about 1,640 feet longitudinally and generally extending laterally across the active channel from bank to bank during moderate flood-flow conditions. These surveys indicate the channel conditions at the time of the surveys and provide characteristics of scour holes that may be useful in the development of predictive guidelines or equations for scour holes. These data also may be useful to the Missouri Department of Transportation as a low to moderate flood-flow comparison to help assess the bridges for stability and integrity issues with respect to bridge scour during floods.

Bathymetric data were collected around every pier that was in water, except those at the edge of water, and scour holes were present at most piers for which bathymetry could be obtained, except those on banks, on bedrock, or surrounded by riprap. Occasionally, the scour hole near a pier was difficult to discern from nearby bed features. The observed scour holes at the surveyed bridges were generally examined with respect to shape and depth.

Although partial exposure of substructural support elements was observed at several piers, at most sites the exposure likely can be considered minimal compared to the overall substructure that remains buried in bed material at these piers. The notable exceptions are piers 12 and 13 at structure L0135 on State Highway 51 at Chester, Illinois, at which the bedrock material was fully exposed around the piers.

The presence of riprap blankets, pier size and nose shape, and alignment to flow had a substantial effect on the size of the scour hole observed for a given pier. Piers that were surrounded by riprap blankets had scour holes that were substantially smaller (to nonexistent) compared to piers at which no rock or riprap were present. Narrow piers having round or sharp noses that were aligned with flow often had scour holes that were difficult to discern from nearby bed features, whereas piers having wide or blunt noses resulted in larger, deeper scour holes. Several of the structures had piers that were skewed to primary approach flow, and scour holes near these piers generally displayed deposition on the leeward side of the pier and greater depth on the side of the pier with impinging flow.

Publication Year 2020
Title Bathymetric and velocimetric surveys at highway bridges crossing the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers on the periphery of Missouri, July–August 2018
DOI 10.3133/sir20205088
Authors Richard J. Huizinga
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Scientific Investigations Report
Series Number 2020-5088
Index ID sir20205088
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Central Midwest Water Science Center