U.S. Department of Transportation


Date of this Version



Published in Hydraulic Engineering: Saving a Threatened Resource—In Search of Solutions: Proceedings of the Hydraulic Engineering sessions at Water Forum ’92. Baltimore, Maryland, August 2–6, 1992. Published by American Society of Civil Engineers.


The collapse of the Schoharie Creek Bridge on April 5, 1987 was a catastrophic instantaneous failure caused by scour of the bridge foundation. This particular collapse received wide media attention due to a home video of part of the collapse, the location on the New York State Thruway and the tragic loss of life. This particular collapse was not the first major interstate highway bridge failure attributed to scour of foundations. It is fair to say, however, that this was the event that finally brought stream stability and bridge scour issues to the attention of highway administrators and bridge engineers throughout the nation.