Initiation of ice jam in front of bridge piers-An experimental study

  • Jun Wang
  • Jian Hua
  • Pang-pang Chen
  • Jueyi SuiEmail author
  • Peng Wu
  • Todd Whitcombe


The presence of bridge piers in natural rivers significantly changes the flow and boundary conditions. As a consequence, ice jams can often be initiated in front of bridge piers. With the changes in flow conditions, two types of ice jam formation may appear: surface accumulation of ice blocks (surface ice blockage) and thickened accumulation of ice blocks (vertical ice blockage). In the present study, the initiation process of ice jam was studied based on experiments. It is found that the critical ice concentration for ice jam blockage depends on the ice block dimension, channel opening and flow conditions. Under surface blockage conditions, a larger ratio of ice cube dimension to channel opening (between piers) can result in a smaller critical ice concentration for ice jam blockage, which has no obvious relation with flow conditions. Under vertical blockage conditions, the critical ice concentration for ice jam blockage increases with flow Froude number and decreases with the ratio of ice dimension to channel opening (between piers). Based on experiments conducted in laboratory, equations for determining critical ice concentration for these two types of ice jam blockage have been developed.

Key words

Bridge piers surface ice blockage vertical ice blockage critical ice concentrations 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. [1]
    Turcotte B., Morse B. A global river ice classification model [J]. Journal of Hydrology, 2013, 507: 134–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. [2]
    Frolova N. L., Agafonova S. A., Krylenko I. N. et al. An assessment of danger during spring floods and ice jams in the north of European Russia [J]. American Journal of Neuroradiology, 2015, 369(3): 37–41.Google Scholar
  3. [3]
    Wazney L., Clark S. P. The 2009 flood event in the Red River Basin: Causes, assessment and damages [J]. Canadian Water Resources Journal, 2015, 41(1-2): 1–9.Google Scholar
  4. [4]
    Beltaos S., Carter T., Rowsell R. Measurements and analysis of ice breakup and jamming characteristics in the Mackenzie Delta, Canada [J]. Cold Regions Science and Technology, 2012, 82: 110–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. [5]
    Wu P., Balachandar R., Ramamurthy A. Effects of splitter plate on reducing local scour around bridge pier [J]. River Research and Applications, 2018, 34(10): 1338–1346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. [6]
    Montgomery C. J., Gerard R., Lipsett A. W. Dynamic response of bridge piers to ice forces [J]. Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering, 2011, 7(2): 345–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. [7]
    Song A., Wang C. J., Tan X. Experimental research on influence of spacing between pile pers on ice load and ice-passing capacity [J]. Port and Waterway Engineering, 2008, (5): 33–38(in Chinese).Google Scholar
  8. [8]
    Press C., Group T. Influence of ice-cover on local scour at circular bridge piers [M]. London, UK: CRC Press Taylor and Francis Group, 2014.Google Scholar
  9. [9]
    Wang J., Wu Y. F., Sui J. Revisit submergence of ice blocks in front of ice cover-an experimental study [J]. Journal of Hydrodynamics, 2018, 30(2): 336–344.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. [10]
    Wang J., Hua J., Sui J. et al. The impact of bridge pier on ice jam evolution–An experimental study [J]. Journal of Hydrology and Hydromechanics, 2016, 64(1): 75–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. [11]
    Tatinclaux J. C., Lee C. L. Initiation of ice jams-A laboratory study [J]. Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering, 2011, 5(2): 202–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. [12]
    Tyminski T. Hydraulic model research on bridge piers based on the example of selected bridges in Opole [J]. Rocznik Ochrona Srodowiska, 2010, 12: 879–893.Google Scholar
  13. [13]
    Tuthill A. M. River ice controls and physical modeling [C]. World Water and Environmental Resources Congress, Oregon, Portland, USA, 2014, 1–1.Google Scholar
  14. [14]
    Belore H. S., Burrell B. C., Beltaos S. Ice jam mitigation [J]. Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering, 2011, 17(5): 675–685.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. [15]
    Ambtman K. E. D., Hicks F. E., Asce M. et al. Experimental investigation of the pressure distribution beneath a floating ice block [J]. Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, ASCE, 2011, 137(4): 399–411.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. [16]
    Yu S., Gu Z., Hou Z. Ice physical model of Baoshen Railway Bridge across Yellow River in thawing period [J]. Advances in Science and Technology of Water Resources, 2014, 34(4): 57–61(in Chinese).Google Scholar
  17. [17]
    Hou Z., Sun Y., Gu Z. Experimental study on the ice physical modeling with a spanning river bridge [J]. Journal of Sediment Research, 2014, (4): 49–54(in Chinese).Google Scholar
  18. [18]
    Wang J., Shi F., Chen P. et al. Impacts of bridge piers on the initiation of ice cover-an experimental study [J]. Journal of Hydrology and Hydromechanics, 2015, 63(4): 327–333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. [19]
    Healy D., Hicks F. E. Experimental study of ice jam thickening under dynamic flow conditions [J]. Journal of Cold Regions Engineering, 2007, 21(3): 72–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. [20]
    Ling J., Lin X., Zhao H. Analysis of three-dimensional flow field and local scour of riverbed around cylindrical pier [J]. Journal of Tongji University (Natural Sciences), 2007, 35(5): 582–586(in Chinese).Google Scholar
  21. [21]
    Zhu Z., Liu Z. Three dimensional numerical simulation for local scour around cylindrical bridge pier [J]. China Journal of Highway and Transport, 2011, 24(2): 42–48(in Chinese).Google Scholar
  22. [22]
    General Code for Desigh of Highway Bridges Culverts JTG D60-2004 [S]. Beijing, China: China Communications Press, 2004(in Chinese).Google Scholar
  23. [23]
    Carstensen D. Flow under ice cover and jam effects [C]. International Conference on Fluvial Hydraulics, River Flow 2012, San Jose, Costa Rica, 2012, 1139–1144.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© China Ship Scientific Research Center 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jun Wang
    • 1
  • Jian Hua
    • 2
  • Pang-pang Chen
    • 1
  • Jueyi Sui
    • 3
    Email author
  • Peng Wu
    • 4
  • Todd Whitcombe
    • 4
  1. 1.College of Civil and Hydraulic EngineeringHefei University of TechnologyHefeiChina
  2. 2.Modern Green Development Co. LTDBeijingChina
  3. 3.Environmental Sciences and Engineering ProgramUniversity of Northern British ColumbiaPrince George, BCCanada
  4. 4.Environmental System Engineering ProgramUniversity of ReginaReginaCanada

Personalised recommendations