In-situ Scour Testing Device

The objective of this research is to prove or disprove the viability of such an in-situ scour testing device for use as a foundation design aid by the highway engineering community. The field device for the proposed study could consist of a water jet directed vertically downward into the soils that are to support the bridge pier foundations. The jet would be calibrated through physical model testing and computer simulation to produce the predicted scour depth in a sand-bed channel for the design hydraulic conditions and proposed pier geometry. The water jet would be run until equilibrium conditions are reached in the resulting scour hole, or until some maximum period of time has elapsed (such as the expected cumulative time the foundation will be exposed to the design discharge over the life of the bridge). The in-situ soils would thereby be exposed to the energy necessary to develop the scour depth, as predicted by the currently used equation. Any equilibrium or maximum scour depth resulting from a field test that is less than the predicted depth for a sand-bed channel would be attributable to the erosion-resistant characteristics of the in-situ soils. It is envisioned that this scour-testing device would be used for foundation analysis and design in a manner similar to present-day soil borings in that several tests would be conducted across the channel and floodplain area to be occupied by a proposed new or replacement bridge. The scour hole information resulting from the field test(s) would be used, in conjunction with the subsurface soil boring information, to adjust the design scour depth predicted by the equations for sand-bed channels, as appropriate, for the actual soil conditions at the bridge site. The Turner-Fairbanks Highway Research Center (TFHRC) Hydraulics Laboratory will collaborate on this proposed research and will provide Lab capabilities and technical assistance.


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  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $290000
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Colorado Department of Transportation

    4201 East Arkansas Avenue
    Denver, CO  United States  80222

    California Department of Transportation

    1227 O Street
    Sacramento, CA  United States  95814

    Kansas Department of Transportation

    Eisenhower State Office Building
    700 SW Harrison Street
    Topeka, KS  United States  66603-3754

    Texas Department of Transportation

    125 E. 11th Street
    Austin, TX  United States  78701-2483

    Utah Department of Transportation

    4501 South 2700 West
    Project Development
    Salt Lake City, UT  United States  84114-8380

    Wisconsin Department of Transportation

    PO Box 7910
    4802 Sheboygan Avenue, Room 104
    Madison, WI  United States  53707-7910

    North Carolina Department of Transportation

    P.O. Box 25201
    1 South Wilmington Street
    Raleigh, NC  United States  27611

    New York State Department of Transportation

    50 Wolf Road
    Albany, NY  United States  12232
  • Project Managers:

    Kerenyi, Kornel

  • Start Date: 20110701
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20130605
  • Source Data: RiP Project 29790

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01566845
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Federal Highway Administration
  • Contract Numbers: TPF-5(210)
  • Created Date: Jun 23 2015 1:02AM