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Pier and contraction scour prediction in cohesive soils at selected bridges in Illinois

August 1, 2010

This report presents the results of testing the Scour Rate In Cohesive Soils-Erosion Function Apparatus (SRICOS-EFA) method for estimating scour depth of cohesive soils at 15 bridges in Illinois. The SRICOS-EFA method for complex pier and contraction scour in cohesive soils has two primary components. The first component includes the calculation of the maximum contraction and pier scour (Zmax). The second component is an integrated approach that considers a time factor, soil properties, and continued interaction between the contraction and pier scour (SRICOS runs). The SRICOS-EFA results were compared to scour prediction results for non-cohesive soils based on Hydraulic Engineering Circular No. 18 (HEC-18). On average, the HEC-18 method predicted higher scour depths than the SRICOS-EFA method. A reduction factor was determined for each HEC-18 result to make it match the maximum of three types of SRICOS run results. The unconfined compressive strength (Qu) for the soil was then matched with the reduction factor and the results were ranked in order of increasing Qu. Reduction factors were then grouped by Qu and applied to each bridge site and soil. These results, and comparison with the SRICOS Zmax calculation, show that less than half of the reduction-factor method values were the lowest estimate of scour; whereas, the Zmax method values were the lowest estimate for over half. A tiered approach to predicting pier and contraction scour was developed. There are four levels to this approach numbered in order of complexity, with the fourth level being a full SRICOS-EFA analysis. Levels 1 and 2 involve the reduction factors and Zmax calculation, and can be completed without EFA data. Level 3 requires some surrogate EFA data. Levels 3 and 4 require streamflow for input into SRICOS. Estimation techniques for both EFA surrogate data and streamflow data were developed.

Publication Year 2010
Title Pier and contraction scour prediction in cohesive soils at selected bridges in Illinois
Authors Timothy D. Straub, Thomas M. Over
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype Other Government Series
Series Number FHWA-ICT-10-074
Index ID 70004359
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Illinois Water Science Center