Evaluation of Various Methods for Deflecting Debris from Bridge Piers

Project status


Start date: 03/01/11
End date: 05/31/12


Principal investigators:

About the research

Debris accumulation on bridge piers is an on-going national problem that can obstruct the waterway openings at bridges and result in significant erosion of stream banks and scour at abutments and piers. In some cases, the accumulation of debris can adversely affect the operation of the waterway opening or cause failure of the structure. In addition, removal of debris accumulation is difficult, time consuming, and expensive for maintenance programs.

This research involves a literature search of publications, products, and pier design recommendations that provide a cost effective method to mitigate debris accumulation at bridges. In addition, a nationwide survey was conducted to determine the state-of-the-practice and the results are presented within.


Report: Debris Mitigation Methods for Bridge Piers (2.20 mb pdf) June 2012

Tech transfer summary: Debris Mitigation Methods for Bridge Piers (718.74 kb pdf) Jun 2012



  • Federal Highway Administration
  • Iowa Department of Transportation
Debris accumulation (logs, etc.)at a bridge pier o
Debris accumulation at a bridge pier on the Skunk River in Ames, Iowa