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Development, verification, and application of a simplified method to estimate total-streambed scour at bridge sites in Illinois

April 1, 1997

A simplified method to estimate total-streambed scour was developed for application to bridges in the State of Illinois. Scour envelope curves, developed as empirical relations between calculated total scour and bridge-site chracteristics for 213 State highway bridges in Illinois, are used in the method to estimate the 500-year flood scour. These 213 bridges, geographically distributed throughout Illinois, had been previously evaluated for streambed scour with the application of conventional hydraulic and scour-analysis methods recommended by the Federal Highway Administration. The bridge characteristics necessary for application of the simplified bridge scour-analysis method can be obtained from an office review of bridge plans, examination of topographic maps, and reconnaissance-level site inspection. The estimates computed with the simplified method generally resulted in a larger value of 500-year flood total-streambed scour than with the more detailed conventional method. The simplified method was successfully verified with a separate data set of 106 State highway bridges, which are geographically distributed throughout Illinois, and 15 county highway bridges.

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