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FHWA Flood Protection Requirements for Bridges over Water

Flooding is the leading cause of bridge failures in the United States. Most bridge failures occur after flood waters cause erosion around a bridge’s foundations, a process called bridge scour. This is why the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) requires a bridge scour evaluation for all bridges over waterways. This presentation comes from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), which administers the bridge inspection program in Texas. TxDOT maintains an inventory of over 55,000 bridges and bridge-class culverts. Nearly 20,000 of these structures are owned by a city, county, or other local entity – and 95% of those are water crossings. Attendees will be introduced to terms like bridge scour, scour evaluation, and scour critical. TxDOT will summarize the FHWA’s bridge scour requirements and explain how they apply to both new and existing bridges. Bridge owners will learn what the federal scour evaluation requirements are, and how to fulfill them.


Trenton Ellis PE
Geotechnical Engineer
Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT)