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Scientific Investigations Report 2010–5207

Prepared in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Transportation

Bathymetric Surveys at Highway Bridges Crossing the Missouri River in Kansas City, Missouri, using a Multibeam Echo Sounder, 2010

By Richard J. Huizinga

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Bathymetric surveys were conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Transportation, on the Missouri River in the vicinity of nine bridges at seven highway crossings in Kansas City, Missouri, in March 2010. A multibeam echo sounder mapping system was used to obtain channel-bed elevations for river reaches that ranged from 1,640 to 1,800 feet long and extending from bank to bank in the main channel of the Missouri River. These bathymetric scans will be used by the Missouri Department of Transportation to assess the condition of the bridges for stability and integrity with respect to bridge scour.

Bathymetric data were collected around every pier that was in water, except those at the edge of the water or in extremely shallow water, and one pier that was surrounded by a large debris raft. A scour hole was present at every pier for which bathymetric data could be obtained. The scour hole at a given pier varied in depth relative to the upstream channel bed, depending on the presence and proximity of other piers or structures upstream from the pier in question. The surveyed channel bed at the bottom of the scour hole was between 5 and 50 feet above bedrock.

At bridges with drilled shaft foundations, generally there was exposure of the upstream end of the seal course and the seal course often was undermined to some extent. At one site, the minimum elevation of the scour hole at the main channel pier was about 10 feet below the bottom of the seal course, and the sides of the drilled shafts were evident in a point cloud visualization of the data at that pier. However, drilled shafts generally penetrated 20 feet into bedrock. Undermining of the seal course was evident as a sonic "shadow" in the point cloud visualization of several of the piers.

Large dune features were present in the channel at nearly all of the surveyed sites, as were numerous smaller dunes and many ripples. Several of the sites are on or near bends in the river, resulting in a deep channel thalweg on the outside of the bend at these sites. At structure A5817 on State Highway 269, bedrock exposure was evident in the channel thalweg. The surveyed channel bed at a given site from this study generally was lower than the channel bed obtained during Level II scour assessments in 2002.

At piers with well-defined scour holes, the frontal slopes of the holes were somewhat less than recommended values in the literature, and the shape of the holes appeared to be affected by the movement of dune features into and around the holes. The channel bed at all of the surveyed sites was lower than the channel bed at the time of construction, and an analysis of measurement data from the U.S. Geological Survey continuous streamflow-gaging station on the Missouri River at Kansas City, Missouri (station number 06893000), confirmed a lowering trend of the channel-bed elevations with time at the gaging station.

The size of the scour holes observed at the surveyed sites likely was affected by the moderate flood conditions on the Missouri River at the time of the surveys. The scour holes likely would be substantially smaller during conditions of low flow.

First posted November 3, 2010

For additional information contact:
Director, USGS Missouri Water Science Center
1400 Independence Road
Rolla, MO 65401
(573) 308–3667

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Suggested citation:

Huizinga, R.J., 2010, Bathymetric surveys at highway bridges crossing the Missouri River in Kansas City, Missouri, using a multibeam echo sounder, 2010: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2010–5207, 61 p.




Equipment and Methods Used in Bathymetric Surveys

Results of Bathymetric Surveys


References Cited

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