Journal of Civil Structural Health Monitoring

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 617–634 | Cite as

Scour depth estimation in a balanced cantilever bridge with deteriorated central hinges based on natural frequencies: field measurements, methodology for estimation and verification

  • M. S. I. ChoudhuryEmail author
  • Y. Matsumoto
  • A. F. M. S. Amin
Original Paper


A scheme based on field measurements of vibrations is proposed for estimating the scour depths of a multi-span balanced cantilever bridge resting on foundations embedded in soft soil. Field measurements of ambient vibrations using velocity sensors indicated elongated periods of vibration in the transverse direction at the pier tops due to scour underneath. The modal properties were identified using the Eigensystem Realization Algorithm. The unknown spring constants of the central hinges were determined to represent the deteriorated performance of the bridge superstructure under no-scour benchmark conditions from a finite element model incorporating soft soil conditions. A single set of spring constants compatible with the measured natural frequencies was thus identified for the transverse movement of the central hinges. The strong dependence of the transverse bending mode of the pier and weak dependence of the longitudinal bending mode of the pier on scour phenomena were clearly observed. The observed relationships between the scour depth and natural frequency were sensitive to soft soil conditions in both modes. The estimated spring constants representing soft soil were used to assess the unknown scour depths in the pier foundations suffering from scour. Independent bathymetric surveys verified the general applicability of the proposed scheme for estimating the scour depths around bridges of this type within reasonable limits.


Scour Balanced cantilever bridge Central hinge Natural frequency SHM Soft soil 



This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors. The authors are grateful to Md. Mashfiqul Islam, Md. Ariful Hasnat, Md. Mahmudul Haque, Nafis Fuad and Md. Abdullah for their enormous support with the vibration measurements. Special thanks are due to the authority of the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology for arranging the vehicle used in the vibration measurements. The valuable supports of the Roads and Highways Department of the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, the Corps of Engineers of the Bangladesh Army and the Japan International Co-operation Agency are gratefully acknowledged. Special thanks are owed to Mr. Ryo Tobita, former graduate student, Saitama University, for his valuable support.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringSaitama UniversitySaitamaJapan
  2. 2.Department of Civil EngineeringBangladesh University of Engineering and TechnologyDhakaBangladesh

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