Gravel-Bed River Assessment Tool for Improved Resiliency of Engineering Design

The world’s rivers and streams are adjusting to changes in climate. In Washington State, stream channels are becoming more dynamic – especially in the vicinity of gravel-bed rivers. Federal, state, tribal and private roads are increasingly compromised or destroyed due to progressively more dynamic channel processes. A river’s bedload (sediment transported along the channel bed) drives how rivers move into – or away from – road infrastructure. In order to design durable roads and bridges, we need high quality information on how the natural material in the river system will move and deposit in the vicinity of road infrastructure. Widely available methods for assessing channel dynamics and hazards are based on sand-bed rivers, like the Mississippi River, that do not apply to gravel-bed rivers found throughout the United States. We need a gravel-bed river assessment tool that accounts for changes in gravel-bed rivers from glacial melt and extreme flooding associated with projected future climate change. In this pilot, Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) proposes to develop practical guidance and methods for assessing bedload transport in gravel-bed rivers for more resilient road infrastructure. This guidance will inform engineering design, hazard assessment, and maintenance strategies of roads along or near gravel-bed rivers. Other federal and state agencies support the pilot, and are willing to assist in the development and review process. WSDOT anticipates that US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Oregon DOT, Caltrans and other public works agencies will use the gravel-bed assessment tool developed by this pilot project. This pilot will consist of three parts: (1) A technical workshop to define the framework, goals, and criteria for developing the guidance and case studies. (2) Data collection and case study development. (3) The guidance write-up and finalization.


  • English


  • Status: Programmed
  • Funding: $455000
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    Oregon Department of Transportation

    355 Capitol St. NE
    Salem, OR  United States  97301-3871

    Washington State Department of Transportation

    Transportation Building
    Olympia, WA  United States  98504

    California Department of Transportation

    1227 O Street
    Sacramento, CA  United States  95814
  • Project Managers:

    Peterson, Jon

  • Start Date: 20190930
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01709891
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Federal Highway Administration
  • Contract Numbers: TPF-5(386)
  • Created Date: Jul 1 2019 8:59PM