Feather River Bridge - A Case Study

Feather River Bridge Pier Scour Study

  • Oscar Suaznabar (TFHRC)
  • Li Chen (University of Nebraska)
  • Kornel Kerenyi


Due to high flows occurring in March 2011, a massive scour hole developed around Pier 22 of the Feather River Bridge (Br. No. 18-0009) on Route 20 in Sutter County, California. The severity of the scour prompted an emergency structural retrofit of Pier 22 that was completed in December 2011. In order to estimate the potential scour of the new retrofitted pier this research study uses sonar bathymetric data taken in 2007 and after the 2011 flood to construct full scale Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) models and identify the hydraulic erosion/scouring force distribution. Bathymetric data from the 2007 survey are used as a baseline stream bed condition while the data obtained after March 2011 flood are considered the result of scour from this event. The change of hydraulic forces during the development of the scour hole can be revealed. In addition, sonar bathymetric data that was recorded after the new retrofitted pier construction will be used in the model to evaluate potential new scouring areas. Furthermore, laboratory experiments using 1:60 scaled pier models of both the scoured complex Pier 22 and the new retrofitted design are being conducted, along with CFD modeling to study the change of the hydraulic forces for scour at various depths.

How to Cite:

Suaznabar, O. & Chen, L. & Kerenyi, K., (2014) “Feather River Bridge Pier Scour Study”, National Hydraulic Engineering Conference 2014 1(2014).

Rights: Copyright © 2014, Oscar Suaznabar, Li Chen and Kornel Kerenyi

Publisher Notes

  • Panel moderated by Veronica Ghelardi, FHWA.

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Published on
21 Aug 2014
Peer Reviewed