Channel meandering in alluvial streams has caused localized channel instability that has resulted in bridge failure and loss of human life in Mississippi. The U.S. Geological Survey, in coopera- tion with the Mississippi Department of Transpor- tation, conducted a study to develop a better methodology for defining and estimating channel meandering. For this report, river reaches near four bridge sites with current lateral movement of channel banks were selected for study. The lateral movement of channel banks was studied by mapping meanders from aerial photographs taken at various times, evaluating available discharge measurements, and measuring existing channel geometry and soil strength properties at these sites. Rapid, unre- stricted meander cuts and sandy banks are charac- teristic of the sites. Lateral movement was signi- ficant upstream from all four sites, and only one bridge site did not have significant lateral channel-bank movement during the study period. The development of cutbanks and localized channel-bank erosion have caused unstable conditions at three of the sites. Maps of tops of channel indicate significant lateral movement of channel banks upstream and downstream of all four sites and near the bridges at three of four sites. No significant movement occurred at the U.S. Highway 98 crossing of the Bogue Chitto near Tylertown from 1941 to 1991 despite large floods in 1983 and 1990. Slope stability analyses indicated this site to be marginally stable. The maximum lateral movement indicated from maps of tops of channel banks was 680 feet of northward movement of the right (north) bank of the Homochitto River near the State Highway 33 crossing at Rosetta from 1941 to 1983.
Lateral movement and stability of channel banks near four highway crossings in southwestern Mississippi