Scour Program Management

New Directions in Scour Monitoring

  • Beatrice E. Hunt (AECOM)


The focus of this presentation is on recent developments in scour monitoring technology, the lessons learned, and the challenges remaining in order to better implement this technology on scour critical bridges.

Highway agencies face increasing challenges with regard to the longevity of their bridges in the face of changing physical, social, and economic environments. Scour monitoring using fixed instrumentation can be an efficient, cost-effective scour countermeasure alternative.

The use of bridge scour monitoring technology in the United States led to the development of several fixed instruments suitable for different types of sites and structures. Developed in the late 1990s, the instruments are now in use throughout the U.S. Two publications in 2009 by the FHWA and TRB provided guidelines and information on the state-of-the-practice for fixed scour monitors for bridges. This presentation will discuss new developments that have occurred subsequent to these publications, both in the United States and abroad.

Various bridge owners and others have continued to conduct research projects or design innovative systems for scour monitoring using fixed instrumentation. Installations both in the laboratory and at bridges have resulted in new scour monitoring devices, as well as improvements to some of the existing types of instruments. This presentation will focus on some of these new devices and developments, and their advantages and limitations. There is large variability among both new and traditional scour monitors with regard to ease of installation, cost, robustness, the extent of the measured scour, and the complexity and costs of the data analysis. In choosing the best scour monitoring solution for a particular bridge location, consideration needs to be given to factors after the system is installed including future maintenance, repairs and inspection. FHWA'S 2012 update to HEC-18 includes new guidance on scour countermeasures and monitoring. Scour monitoring can play an increasingly important role in a Plan of Action and bridge management plan. The application of the revised countermeasure design philosophies to fixed instrumentation will be discussed. Technology and program needs, trends and future directions in bridge scour monitoring will be presented.

How to Cite:

Hunt, B. E., (2014) “New Directions in Scour Monitoring”, National Hydraulic Engineering Conference 2014 1(2014).

Rights: Copyright © 2014, Beatrice E. Hunt

Publisher Notes

  • Panel moderated by Dave Claman, IOWADOT.

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Published on
22 Aug 2014
Peer Reviewed