Electrical resistivity imaging of unknown bridge foundations Academic Article uri icon


  • Unknown bridge foundations pose a significant safety risk due to stream scour and erosion. Records from older structures may be non-existent, incomplete or incorrect. We evaluate 2D and 3D electrical resistivity imaging (ERI) as a means to reliably identify the depth of unknown bridge foundations. A survey procedure is described for mixed terrain/water environments in the presence of rough terrain. Some electrodes are installed on the stream banks while others are adapted for underwater use. Tests were conducted at five field sites, including three roadway bridges, a geotechnical test site and a railway bridge, containing drilled shafts and spread footings of both known and unknown depth extent. The 2D data acquisition was carried out in the dipole-dipole configuration. The 2D ERI method resolved the shape and depth extent of the larger bridge foundations but, with less accuracy, the shape and depth extent of the smaller foundations. The 3D ERI method is timeconsuming and does not add sufficient additional value over 2D ERI to become a practical tool for unknown bridge foundation investigations. The 2D ERI method is a cost-effective geophysical method that is relatively easy to use by bridge engineers. 2013 European Association of Geoscientists & Engineers.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Arjwech, R., Everett, M. E., Briaud, J., Hurlebaus, S., Medina-Cetina, Z., Tucker, S., & Yousefpour, N.

citation count

  • 21

complete list of authors

  • Arjwech, R||Everett, ME||Briaud, J-L||Hurlebaus, S||Medina-Cetina, Z||Tucker, S||Yousefpour, N

publication date

  • December 2013