Being able to accurately predict water flow conditions and their impact on proposed bridge designs is vital to ensuring that a new bridge will be strong and long lasting. It is also vital to assessing the current and future condition of existing bridges. Dr. Jerry Richardson has been contracted by Water Resources Solutions to build a physical model of the water flow experienced by the existing 63rd street bridge over Brush Creek in Mission Hills to assess current flow conditions and to evaluate up to three proposed replacement bridges for this site. If you stop by the Fluid Mechanics lab, you likely find civil engineering senior Amanda Leipard working, under the supervision of Dr. Richardson, to create a rigid bed distorted Froud scale model of the current 63rd Street bridge. The horizontal scale is 1:73 and the vertical scale and 1:24.
Professors Don Baker, P.E. and Jerry Richardson, P.E. presented their research finding in a talk entitled North Platte River Stabilization Design to over 50 attendees at the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) Greater Kansas City Post monthly luncheon/presentation on September 22, 2011. This research project was conducted for the Nebraska Community Foundation to develop a design for river training structures at the measuring weir on the Platte River near Nebraska-Wyoming. Accurate flow measurement at this structure has been adversely affected by channel migration, and bar formation due to high sediment loads in the Platte River. Previous construction of at this site had failed to result in a repeatable and consistent stage-discharge relationship.
A combined numeric and physical modeling approach was effective in understanding the complex velocity patterns at this site and to design river training structures to stabilize the channel and improve the discharge rating of the weir. Mr. Phil Balch, a fluvial geomorphologist from Wildhorse Riverworks, Inc. and Mr. Nathan Grahl, SCE civil engineering undergraduate senior, are also members of the research team. Mr. Balch assisted in the design of the model and Mr. Grahl helped build and run the model and analyzed the research data. Following the presentation, several of the luncheon participants came over to UMKC SCE’s Fluids lab to observe a demonstration of the model.