Develop Cost Effective Alternatives for Mitigating Debris and Environmental Impacts Around Bridge Piers

Accumulations of debris on bridge piers can obstruct, contract, or redirect flow leading to (1) rise in water surface elevations for high flow events causing more frequent flooding of adjacent properties and greater potential for overtopping the roadway, (2) bank erosion and subsequent misalignment of the channel through the opening, (3) localized scour of the river bed around piers potentially undermining the bridge foundation (Lagasse et al., 2010), and (4) increased horizontal forces that may directly damage the substructure or indirectly stress components of the superstructure (Bradley et al, 2005). While catastrophic failure of a bridge due to debris is relatively rare, the need for difficult and dangerous maintenance to remedy debris accumulations is common and can be costly to ameliorate. Numerous researchers suggest that debris removal can be a major component of the overall life cycle costs of a structure and that effective maintenance programs to remove or avoid debris accumulations is an efficient means to preserve and extend bridge service life. The overall goal of the proposed study is to identify and test a suite of best management practices and equipment for removal of existing debris accumulations from bridge piers and evaluate/design/test/monitor structures to avoid accumulations in the future. The alternative practices that are identified should be safe and efficient to implement. Furthermore, the practices should be acceptable to ODOT and, therefore, end-users must be engaged in the development and testing of potential solutions. To achieve these goals, the research team proposes the following overarching objectives: (1) Document current state-of-the-art debris removal techniques and mitigation practices used by state DOT's and other public or private entities; (2) Test debris removal techniques to determine if alternatives are preferable to current practice and quantify their cost, potential impacts to motorists, and determine alignment with ODOT's current knowledge, skills, and abilities to implement; (3) Assess and evaluate countermeasures to mitigate future debris accumulations from forming; (4) Design, implement, and monitor performance of debris removal and avoidance countermeasures; (5) Disseminate knowledge and project outcomes through the production of multi-media educational materials to facilitate technology transfer; and (6) Develop decision aids to guide the selection of practices.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $1424920
  • Contract Numbers:




  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Ohio Department of Transportation

    Research Program
    1980 West Broad Street
    Columbus, OH  United States  43223
  • Project Managers:

    Martindale, Jill

  • Performing Organizations:

    The Ohio State University

    2036 Neil Avenue
    Columbus, OH  United States  43210
  • Principal Investigators:

    Witter, Jonathan

  • Start Date: 20190729
  • Expected Completion Date: 20240329
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01712942
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Ohio Department of Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: 33807, 135970, 109461
  • Files: RIP, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: Jul 29 2019 2:10PM