Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has awarded the grant to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE). The project will analyse scour estimates at bridge sites with the aim of producing findings that will lead to improvements in bridge design and maintenance.

SIUE said that research shows that 60% of bridge failures in the United States are related to scour.

Dr Abdolreza Osouli, associate professor in SIUE’s Department of Civil Engineering, is principal investigator on the project, which is entitled 'Developing scour-depth estimation using the in situ and portable scour testing device (ISTD/PSTD) for Illinois cohesive soils'.

"Our primary goal is to improve the scour estimate analyses at bridge sites in Illinois," he said. "Our work will improve stability of existing or new bridges, help Illinois taxpayers by saving costs of bridge design and maintenance due to an enhanced knowledge on scour estimates at sites with cohesive riverbed, and equip IDOT with state-of-the-art field equipment developed by the Federal Highway Administration in the field of scour measurement."

The project will use in situ and portable scour testing devices to extract better load versus erosion characteristics of the riverbed material. “Our objective is to establish testing and hydraulic-analysis procedures with ISTD/PSTD data, and to improve reliability of the estimated scour depths in cohesive soils to design bridges more cost-effectively,” said Osouli.

During the award period, the research team will conduct a literature review, fabricate ISTD/PSTD, perform field testing at several bridge sites in Illinois, conduct laboratory experiments on collected samples, conduct 2D hydraulic modelling of the scour at several sites and develop an enhanced scour analysis procedure using ISTD/PSTD field data. The work will conclude with preparation of a report of findings that IDOT can apply.