Bridge scour

Removal of sediment from around bridge abutments or piers by the movement of water / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Bridge scour is the removal of sediment such as sand and gravel from around bridge abutments or piers. Hydrodynamic scour, caused by fast flowing water, can carve out scour holes, compromising the integrity of a structure.[1]

A diagram showing how scour holes are formed

In the United States, bridge scour is one of the three main causes of bridge failure (the others being collision and overloading). It has been estimated that 60% of all bridge failures result from scour and other hydraulic-related causes.[2] It is the most common cause of highway bridge failure in the United States,[3] where 46 of 86 major bridge failures resulted from scour near piers from 1961 to 1976.[4]