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Bathymetric and velocimetric surveys at highway bridges crossing the Missouri River between Kansas City and St. Louis, Missouri, April-May, 2013

July 21, 2014

Bathymetric and velocimetric data were collected by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Transportation, in the vicinity of 10 bridges at 9 highway crossings of the Missouri River between Lexington and Washington, Missouri, from April 22 through May 2, 2013. A multibeam echosounder mapping system was used to obtain channel-bed elevations for river reaches ranging from 1,640 to 1,840 feet longitudinally and extending laterally across the active channel between banks and spur dikes in the Missouri River during low- to moderate-flow conditions. These bathymetric 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 to 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 or in very shallow water (less than about 6 feet). Scour holes were present at most piers for which bathymetry could be obtained, except at piers on channel banks, near or embedded in lateral or longitudinal spur dikes, and on exposed bedrock outcrops. Scour holes observed at the surveyed bridges were examined with respect to depth and shape. Although exposure of parts of foundational 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 channel-bed material; however, there were several notable exceptions where the bed material thickness between the bottom of the scour hole and bedrock was less than 6 feet. Such substantial exposure of usually buried substructural elements may warrant special observation in future flood events.

Previous bathymetric surveys had been done at all of the sites in this study during the flood of 2011. Comparisons between bathymetric surfaces from the previous surveys and those of this study generally indicate a consistent increase in the elevation of the bed and decrease in the size of scour holes at these sites, both likely caused by a substantial decrease in discharge and water-surface elevation compared to the 2011 surveys at most sites. However, multiple surveys at one of the sites indicate that the flow condition is not the sole variable in the determination of the size of scour holes at sites with a dual bridge configuration. Furthermore, another site had a smaller and shallower scour hole even though the discharge in this study was slightly greater than in 2011. Pier size, nose shape, and alignment to flow also had a substantial effect on the size of the scour hole observed.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2014
Title Bathymetric and velocimetric surveys at highway bridges crossing the Missouri River between Kansas City and St. Louis, Missouri, April-May, 2013
DOI 10.3133/sir20145116
Authors Richard J. Huizinga
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Scientific Investigations Report
Series Number 2014-5116
Index ID sir20145116
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Missouri Water Science Center