Bridge Scour Monitoring Technologies: Development of Evaluation and Selection Protocols for Application on River Bridges in Minnesota


Matthew Lueker, Jeff Marr, Chris Ellis, Vincent Winsted, Shankar Akula

March 2010

Report no. Mn/DOT 2010-14

Bridge failure or loss of structural integrity can result from scour of riverbed sediment near bridge abutments or piers during high-flow events in rivers. In the past 20 years, several methods of monitoring bridge scour have been developed spanning a range of measurement approaches, complexities, costs, robustness, and measurement resolutions. This project brings together the expertise of Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) bridge engineers and researchers, university hydraulic and electrical engineers, field staff, and inspectors to take the first steps toward development of robust scour monitoring for Minnesota river bridges. The team worked with Mn/DOT engineers to identify variables of scour critical bridges that affect the application of scour monitoring technology. The research team will used this information to develop a Scour Monitoring Decision Framework (SMDF) that will aid Mn/DOT in selecting the best technologies for specific sites. The final component of the project will involve testing the SMDF on five bridges in a case-study type demonstration; work plans for two of the sites were developed for demonstration of deployed instrumentation.

The Scour Monitoring Decision Framework Excel workbook affiliated with this project is available here:

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