Bridge scour is the leading cause of bridge failures in the United States, and an average of 22 bridges collapse or are closed down due to scouring every year. If your bridge runs over an active river or stream, it’s imperative to be constantly vigilant for signs of bridge scour and to take action when they appear.

TrapBag can provide an affordable solution that can be quickly deployed, both to alleviate bridge scour and to conduct repairs when they are needed.

What Is Bridge Scour?

Bridge scour occurs when the sediment of the riverbed is eroded away from the foundations of a bridge. As the sediment is carried away, it can create a scour hole around the bridge pier. This threatens the safety and integrity of the bridge and can increase the risk of a collapse.

What Causes Bridge Scouring?

The most common cause of bridge scouring is changes in the flow of the river. This can happen over time from natural shifts in the geography of the river that cause changes in the current. The process can be accelerated by flooding, damming, or reengineering of the river.

A bridge scour can also occur due to debris in the river that becomes caught on the bridge piers or abutments. Large pieces of debris such as tree branches can catch other debris and build up over time. This creates a barrier that redirects the flow of the river water and can drive it into the sediment, leading to erosion.

Experts believe that climate change may lead to more scouring due to changes in precipitation and an increase in flooding events. Therefore, teams responsible for bridge scour protection will need to perform constant monitoring to ensure that they are not caught off guard.

Bridge Scour Monitoring Methods

While bridge monitoring is critical, its methods can be expensive and delicate. They can be damaged during flooding, which is also when scouring is most likely to occur, so it’s important to constantly check your instrumentation and make sure that you have backups available.

One of the most common methods of bridge scour monitoring is sonar, which can monitor the depth of the riverbed and measure whether it has eroded away from the bridge’s foundation. 

When combined with other tools and sensors, a sonar instrument can provide regular updates on the status of the bridge, and allow you to deploy bridge scour protection methods before the situation becomes dangerous.

You may want to deploy multiple sonar sensors to perform bridge scour monitoring at multiple piers or abutments. They can be joined by water level and wireless data sharing to ensure that you have all the data that you need when you need it. Solar panels can also be used to power the instruments.

Bridge Scour Protection

One of the most effective ways to protect bridge piers that are vulnerable to scouring is to create a TrapBag flood barrier. TrapBags are structurally engineered to stand up to heavy flooding and prevent erosion. They can be filled with sand, washed gravel, or concrete and deployed within a matter of hours. TrapBags can be used for temporary or permanent bridge scour protection.

Using TrapBag for Bridge Repair & Reinforcement

If bridge scour or other issues have progressed too far, and you need to conduct repairs, TrapBag can help with that too. When a historic bridge in North Carolina needed to be rehabilitated, TrapBag created a custom, fabric-forming product to help contractors complete the job. 

Why Choose TrapBag?

TrapBag has proven to be effective at building seawalls, levees, dams, flood barriers, and more. They are structurally engineered to use less fill material than sandbags and are easier to deploy. The pentagon-shaped structure of TrapBags allows them to create a solid wall against floodwaters. Even if one TrapBag cell were to fail, the rest of the structure would remain intact.

TrapBag Projects

The flexibility and affordability of TrapBags have led to their use in a broad range of engineering and disaster prevention projects across the United States. They effectively stabilized a river in Nevada, protected key infrastructure in New Jersey, and protected homes and businesses from erosion in Florida.

Order TrapBag Today

If you’re ready to deploy an effective bridge scour protection solution for your infrastructure, reach out to our staff to talk about how TrapBag can help.



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