Quantifying Mountain Basin Runoff Mechanisms for Better Hydrologic Design of Bridges and Culverts

The objectives of this MPC research project are: (1) to determine the importance of saturationexcess runoff production for large storms that affect the design and performance of key surface transportation infrastructure and (2) to develop a generalized model for runoff production in mountainous basins that can be used by consultants to perform hydrologic analysis of transportation infrastructure. This project would allow expansion of a one-year research project that was recently awarded by CWCB to the PI and collaborators in Colorado Dam Safety into a two-year effort. To achieve the project goals, a physically-based model that allows production of both infiltration-excess and saturation-excess runoff will be implemented and used to examine the mechanisms that have been active for three large historical rainfall events that occurred in the Colorado Front Range. Future phases of this research will consider mountain basins outside of the Front Range. The model used in this study must fulfill several key requirements. First, it must be physically-based to maximize the reliability of its results. Second, it must simulate both infiltration-excess and saturation-excess runoff so the appropriate runoff production mechanism(s) can be identified and simulated. Third, the model must not require calibration because most basins above bridges and culverts are ungauged. Fourth, it must be implemented in a simple and low-cost framework and utilize existing Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) or United States Forest Service (USFS) soil survey data to allow possible future adoption by consultants who perform hydrologic analysis of transportation infrastructure.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $100000
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Mountain-Plains Consortium

    North Dakota State University
    Fargo, ND  United States  58108
  • Project Managers:

    Kline, Robin

  • Performing Organizations:

    Colorado State University

    Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
    Campus Delivery 1372
    Fort Collins, CO  United States  80523
  • Principal Investigators:

    Niemann, Jeffrey

  • Start Date: 20171102
  • Expected Completion Date: 20220731
  • Actual Completion Date: 20200915
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program
  • Source Data: MPC-537

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01650580
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Mountain-Plains Consortium
  • Contract Numbers: 69A3551747108
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Nov 6 2017 1:19PM