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Basic Components and Parts of Bridge Structures


Superstructure
Superstructure that part of the structure which supports traffic and includes deck, slab and girders. All the
parts of the bridge which is mounted on a supporting system can be classified as a Super structure.

Substructure
Substructure that part of the structure, ie piers and abutments, which supports the superstructure and
which transfers the structural load to the foundations.

Foundation
Foundation is the component which transfers loads from the substructure to the bearing strata.
Depending on the geotechnical properties of the bearing strata, shallow or deep foundations are adopted.
Usually, piles and well foundations are adopted for bridge foundations.

Basic Components and Parts of Bridge Structures

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Basic Components and Parts of Bridge Structures


Superstructure Components of Bridges
The superstructure of the bridge structure consists of deck slab, girder, truss etc. These
components vary based on the type of bridge (whether concrete or steel or composite).
Superstructure of the bridge bears the load passing over it. This helps in transmitting the forces
formed by the loads to the below substructures.

Decks
The decking is considered as the road or the rail surface of the bridge. The decks are supported
by the girders or the huge beams that is in turn supported by the piers. The whole arrangement
is supported with a deep foundation mainly piles and cap arrangement.

Basic Components and Parts of Bridge Structures

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Basic Components and Parts of Bridge Structures


Bearings in Bridges
The loads received by the decks are properly and safely transmitted to the substructure with the
help of bearings. These are components of bridge that enables even distribution of load on the
substructure material. This transmission is very essential in situations where the substructure is
not designed to take the load action directly.

Basic Components and Parts of Bridge Structures


Bearings in Bridges

The selection of bearing is dependent on certain parameters, which are: Loads acting,
the geometry, the extent of maintenance, the clearance available, the displacement,
rotation and deflection policy, availability, preference of the designer, the construction
tolerances, and the cost criteria.

In most of construction practice, the


bearing is selected or the decision for
bearing is done in the last moment.
This results in increase of
maintenance in the future, which
must be avoided.

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Basic Components and Parts of Bridge Structures


Substructure Components of Bridges
The components involved in substructure of bridges are:

1. Piers
2. Abutments
3. Wing Walls and the Returns

4. Foundation

Basic Components and Parts of Bridge Structures

Piers
The piers are vertical structures used to support deck or the bearings provided for load
transmission to underground soil through foundation. These structures serve as supports for
the bridge spans at intermediate points.

The pier structure has mainly two functions:


1. Load transmission to the Foundation

2. Resistance to the horizontal forces

Most of the cases, piers are designed to resist the vertical loads alone. In areas which lie in
the seismic zone, it is recommended to design the pier for lateral loads also.

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Basic Components and Parts of Bridge Structures

Piers
The pier is a vertical
member that resist the
forces by means of shear
mechanism. These forces
are mainly lateral forces.
The pier that consist of
multiple columns are called
as bent.

Basic Components and Parts of Bridge Structures

Piers
Types of Piers in Bridge Construction
There are different types of piers based on the structural connectivity, the shape of the
section and the framing configuration.

• Based on the structural connectivity, the pier can be classified as monolithic or


cantilevered.

• Based on the shape of the section pier can be classified as solid or hollow,
hexagonal, round or octagonal or rectangular.

• Based on the framing configuration the pier can be classified as single or multiple
column bent, hammerhead or pier wall type.

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Basic Components and Parts of Bridge Structures


Abutments
Abutments are vertical structures
used to retain the earth behind the
structure. The dead and the live
loads from the bridge superstructure
is supported by the bridge
abutments.

Basic Components and Parts of Bridge Structures


Abutments
The abutments are also subjected to lateral
pressures mainly from the approach embankment.
The design loads on the abutment is mainly
dependent on the:

• Type of abutment selected

• The sequence of construction

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Basic Components and Parts of Bridge Structures


Abutments
The abutments are primarily designed to resists
the overturning and sliding. More focus is on the
stability of the whole system.

The special care has to be provided for the


foundations of abutments. The abutment
foundation must overcome the problems of
differential settlement and excessive
movements caused due to lateral forces or
loads.

Basic Components and Parts of Bridge Structures


Abutments
shows the components of abutments.

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Basic Components and Parts of Bridge Structures


Abutments

Wing Walls and Returns


Structures constructed as an extension of the abutments to retain the earth present in the
approach bank are called wing walls. This portion will otherwise have a natural angle of
repose. These are retaining walls constructed adjacent to the abutments. This wall can be
constructed either integrally or independent with the abutment wall.

• The rear of the wall must consider three design loads while designing. This includes:

• The earth pressure from the backfill


• The surcharge from the live loads or the compacting plant
• The hydraulic loads from the saturated soil conditions

Basic Components and Parts of Bridge Structures


The stability of the wing
wall is mainly based on
its resistance against the
active earth pressures.
The structural elements
of the bridges are hereby
designed and constructed
to resist the earth
pressures at rest.

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Basic Components and Parts of Bridge Structures


Parapets and Handrails/ Guard Rails or Curbs
These components of bridges are not of structural importance, but provided for the safety
concerns. These are provided above the decks. This will help in prevention of the vehicle from
falling off the bridge into the water body below or as a means for the separation of traffic
streams.

Basic Components and Parts of Bridge Structures

Foundation of Bridges
Foundation are structures constructed to transmit the load from the piers, abutments, wing
walls and the returns evenly on the strata.

The foundation provided for


bridge structures are deep in
sufficient manner to avoid
scouring due to the water
movement or to reduce the
chances of undermining.

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TYPES OF BRIDGE

TYPES OF BRIDGE

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TYPES OF BRIDGE

TYPES OF BRIDGE

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TYPES OF BRIDGE

Supporting Beams

To improve the performance of a simple beam bridge the beam


has to be supported

There are three basic ways to do this:

• Arches

• Trusses

• Cables

TYPES OF BRIDGE

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TYPES OF BRIDGE

The banks carry the load and keep the ends of the bridge from spreading out

TYPES OF BRIDGE

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TYPES OF BRIDGE

TYPES OF BRIDGE

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TYPES OF BRIDGE

TYPES OF BRIDGE

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TYPES OF BRIDGE

TYPES OF BRIDGE

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TYPES OF BRIDGE

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