Scour, or the buildup of sediment and debris around the infrastructure of a bridge or pier, is primarily caused by unmitigated rushing water around the primary supports of these structures. The damage caused by scour can be devastating without proper protection measures in place and depending on the construction materials used and the composition of scour, degradation of structures can take place quickly and to a prolific level!
To combat scour on bridges and piers old and new, various solutions have been created and implemented, but none to the level of effectiveness of cable concrete erosion control products. From combating the erosive properties of scour itself to protecting the natural land formations that support bridge and pier developments, cable concrete mats provide dual benefits that are simply astounding.
Protecting against failure
According to the United States Geological Survey and the American Society of Civil Engineers:
In the U.S., bridge scour is one of the three main causes of bridge failure (the others being collision and overloading). It has been estimated that 60 percent of all bridge failures result from scour and other hydraulic-related causes.
Scour causes damage primarily by ripping holes in support structures of bridges and removing large chunks of natural land masses from around supports, weakening them in a peripheral manner that can lead to failure or complete collapse unless erosion can be mitigated.
Cable concrete erosion control products can be applied in such a way that they provide an encompassing line of defense against scour and its associated damages:
- Cable concrete mats provide a protective layer of erosion mitigation that separates scour from the actual infrastructure of the bridge or pier itself, thus deadening the rushing water erosion that can take place quickly.
- Cable concrete mats can also be tailored and laid around the natural Earth formations that support bridges and piers, again providing a protecting barrier against erosion that might affect the structure itself in time.
- Finally, cable concrete mats can actually be used to control the flow of rushing water around bridges and piers, to stem the severity of flow rates in a way that minimizes erosion rates.
A better solution to scour protection
Currently there are numerous solutions to scour that exist, however not all solutions are as widely applicable as cable concrete erosion control products. For example, spurs and revetments are commonly used to lessen local scour damages, which generally becomes more of a concern in higher water crossings—however these solutions would not serve as well as riprap or grout-filled mattresses in low water crossings and vice versa.
Cable concrete can be used to transcend various scour scenarios to create solutions in all types of water crossings, in varying degrees of severity. Furthermore, it presents a less-invasive change to the natural environment for a minimal cost, thereby affecting change without straining the ecosystem or the budgets of municipalities seeking to preserve their developments.
Scour may continue to be a scourge for bridges and piers, but it’s a problem that has a viable solution when cable concrete erosion control products are introduced.