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Scour in Bottomless Culverts.pdf

Scour in Bottomless Culverts.pdf

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culvert design
culvert design

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Published by: gugi on May 20, 2013
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Scour inBottomless Culverts
By Bryan N. Scholl and Christopher I. Thornton, Ph.D., P.E.December 2008
2 PDH Professional Development Advertising Section CONTECH Construction Products Inc.
bottomless or three-sided culvert is a variationof well-known culvert configurations such as thebox culvert and the arch. Bottomless culverts canhave a span ranging from 1.5 feet to more than35 feet. The difference is that in place of a hard surface(typically concrete) floor, the culvert bottom is the naturalstream bed material. Advantages to this are a more environ-mentally congruous stream path, as well as typically lower construction costs. The engineer’s concern then becomesplanning for how the natural stream bed will react to theconstruction of the culvert during all flow regimes andwhat protective measures might be necessary to protect theculvert from scour or aggradation. A preliminary study should be done in the area of theproposed culvert to determine local site characteristics.It is important to know whether the stream is aggradingor degrading in the reach. Aggradation/degradation is along-term process that does not include cutting and fillingthat may occur during temporary, high-flow events. Whenconsidering aggradation or degradation, the engineer mustconsider the planned life of the bridge in addition to thepresent state of the stream reach. This means assessinglong-term changes to the watershed resulting from natu-ral processes or human activities. Changes can includeconstruction of a dam or reservoir upstream or downstreamof the reach, modifications in watershed land use such aslogging or urban development, and stream channeliza-tion. Government agencies such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), the U.S. Geological Survey, and other local, state, and federal agencies should be contacted for any documentation they may have of long-term stream-bed elevation changes. If there is no existing data or thedata is of insufficient quality, make an assessment using theprinciples of river mechanics, considering all relative influ-ences on the bridge’s crossing.HEC-18, Evaluating Scour at Bridges, outlines a three-stepprocedure in to determine long-term aggradation and degra-dation. The three-level approach consists of the following:
Level 1 — a qualitative determination based on generalgeomorphic and river mechanics relationships,
Level 2 — an engineering geomorphic analysis usingestablished qualitative and quantitative relationships toestimate the probable behavior of the stream system tovarious scenarios or future conditions, and
Level 3 — physical models or physical process computer modeling using mathematical models such as BRI-STARSand the Corps’ HEC-6 to make predictions of quantitativechanges in streambed elevation due to changes in thestream and watershed.Methods to be used in Levels 1 and 2 are presented inHEC-20 and Highways in the River Environment (HIRE).Once the long-term characteristics have been ascertained,the decision to build a bottomless culvert must be re-evalu-ated to decide if it is the best choice. Provided the decisionis made to move forward, the engineer must determine
Continuing Education
The Professional Development Series is a uniqueopportunity to earn continuing education credit by read-ing specially focused, sponsored articles in CE News.If you read the following article, display your under-standing of the stated learning objectives, and followthe simple instructions, you can fulfill a portion of your continuing education requirements at no cost to you.This article also is available online at www.cenews.com/pg.asp?id=20.
First, review the learning objectives below, thenread the Professional Development Series article. Next,complete the quiz and submit your answers to theProfessional Development Series sponsor. Submittalinstructions are provided on the Reporting Form, onpage PDH 7. Your quiz answers will be graded by theProfessional Development Series sponsor. If you answer at least 80 percent of the questions correctly, you willreceive a certificate of completion from the ProfessionalDevelopment Series sponsor within 90 days and will beawarded 1.0 professional development hour (equivalentto 0.1 continuing education unit in most states).
Note:It is the responsibility of the licensee to determine if this method of continuing education meets his or her governing board(s) of registration’s requirements.
Learning Objectives
Readers should gain an understanding of how toevaluate general and local scour of a streambed thatcould affect the design, construction, and performanceof a bottomless (three-sided) culvert. In addition, readersshould learn about types of scour countermeasures andresources to use when selecting appropriate devices.
Professional Development Series Sponsors
CONTECH Construction Products Inc.
Professional Development Series
Scour in Bottomless Culverts
By Bryan N. Scholl and Christopher I. Thornton, Ph.D., P.E.
Professional Development Advertising Section CONTECH Construction Products Inc. PDH 3
general scour that will occur. For this article,a bottomless culvert with a single barrel willbe considered. The general principles maybe expanded to multiple barrels provided pier widths and local pier scour are taken into consideration.
General scour
General scour is the general lowering of the streambed in close proximity to the bridge. General scour doesnot include the long-term changes caused by aggrada-tion or degradation, and it also does not include localizedscour that may occur at abutments, piers, and foundations.General scour 
include the cutting and filling thatmay occur during temporary, high flow events. The mostcommon general scour is contraction scour resulting fromincreased flow velocities as the stream cross sectional areadecreases approaching a stream crossing. Other causes of general scour are the planform of the stream, flow arounda bend, variable downstream control, or any other changesthat result in a decrease in bed elevation at the bridge.There are two classes of contraction scour, each withequations based on the principle of conservation of sedi-ment. Live-bed contraction scour occurs when the sedi-ment transported into the bridge cross section is less than
Table 1: Live-bed Contraction Scour Exponent,
Mode of Transport
0.50 0.59 Mostly rolling, sliding, and saltation0.50 2.0 0.64 Some suspended bed material
2.0 0.69 Mostly suspended bed material
Table 2: Abutment Shape Coefficients,
Abutment type description
Vertical-wall 1Vertical wall with wing walls 0.82Spill-through 0.55
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Figures 1A, 1B, 1C: Overbank flow conveyed into the main chan-nel approaching a culvert
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