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l V I 1 N V W N D I S a a 3 D Q I ) I H

ThisManu~1isintended essentially tointroduce basic bridgedesignconcepts and topresent
guidelines inthe technique or bridge design (or highway bridges.
This manual has been studied and approved by the following committee.
Mr. P.B.L Cooray General Manager [Chairman of the
02. Dr. G.LA.J . DeSilva
03. Mr.Lionel Rajapakse
04. Mr.IlVV.Fernando
05. Mr.S. VVecrathunge
06. Mrs. H.Y. Fernando
Director (ES) [Committee Member]
Director (MM&C) [Committee Member]
Director (P&PM) [Committee Member]
Director (T) [Committee Member]
Dy. Director (BD) [Secretary of the
07. Mr. Asoka\iVeeraratne Dy. Director (CM) [CommitteeMember]
08. Mr. T.L Chandrasiri Dy. Director (P&PM) [Committee
09. Mr. D.IlR. Swarna Senior Engineer (BD) [Committee
10. Mr. R.A.D.S.1l Ranathunge- Executive Engineer (MM&C) [Committee
11. Mr. M. Chandrasena Bridge Consultant (MS.
Chandrasena & Partners)
[Committee Member]
12. Mr:J . Zavesky Bridge Desi.gnExpert (MS. Renardet
Consulting Engineers) [Committee
Thismanual has been drafted by the following members.
01. Mrs. H.Y. Fernando
02. Mr. D.IlR. Swarna
03. Mr. VV.E.S.1l 1i'ernando
04. Mrs. VV.B.S.H.Fernando
05. Mr. P.S. Sadadcharan
06. Mr. C.C.VV.J ayasuriya
1. 0
2. 0
2. 1
2. 2
2. 2. 4
2. 2. 6
2. 2. 7
2. 2. 8
3 . 0
4. 0
5. 0
- ' 5. 2. 1
5. 2. 2
5. 2. 3
5. 4
5. 5
6. 0
6. 2
6. 2. 2
6. 2. 4
Loads ..
Dead Loads ..
Live Loads
Breaking and Traction
Horizontal Forces due to Water CU1Tent, Debris, &Log Impact
Wind Loads ..
Temperature Siress in Concrete Bridge Decks
Creep and Shrinkage
Geological Investigation
Topographical :.~wvey
Hydrological Survey _
Technical Surv-y &Details of the Existing Bridge
Geotechnical Lrvcstigation ..
Waterway and Length of Bridge
Substructure ..
Wing Walls
Super Structure
Design of Super Structure
Bridge Bearing
Other Features of Super Structures
Bridge Location, Proportioning &Orientation
Proportioning Bridge &Approaches
Deck Level &Trafficability
Vertical Alignment
Horizontal Alignment
Deck Crossfall
Uplift and Instalility
; -- -- --- __ 1 ~ _~ __ __ ill
2. 0
Critical Flood Levels &Velocities
Suitability of Alrernative Structures
Kerbs and Ban iers ..
Super Structure
Bearings and Hold Down Restraints
Substructure ..
Batter Protection
Proportioning Bridge and Approaches
Deck Level and Trfficability
Vertical Alignment
Horizontal Alignment
Deck Crossfall
3.1 Uplift. .and Instability
3.2 Critical Flood Level and Velocities
4. 0
- -If-.5
Kerbs and BaIT--;--r
Super Structures
Dearing and Hold Down Restraints
Batter Protection
3 5
3 5


Availability of construction materials &equipment, less maintenance and longlifespanare
the main factors inchoosing concrete bridges abundantly in Sri Lanka As the other types
such as steel bridges, archbridges &timber bridges arelimited innumber, this notemostly
covers the design aspects for concrete bridges.
Bridge Design Manual is to supplement the Bridge Design Code adopted by the Road
Development Authority, theBritish Standard 5400, for the loadings and effects where the
local conditions require different provisions than those included inthe British Standard.
These include but arenet limited tothe provisions related to design live loading andto the
local climatic conditions.
This isto provide aguidance to the designer intheinterpretation of some of the provision
of the standard and in calculation of the effects prescribed by the standard and to
summarize and to advise the designer on the design practices adopted by the Road
Development Authority interms of selection of substructure and superstructure types. It
isrecommended that there guide lines are used by other authorities for design of highway
1__= .l .. __

2.1 General -
Design of Bridges and ether related structures is carried out in accordance with the B.S.
5400 with certain modifications to suit local conditions as stipulated herein.
Permissible stresses to be adopted are to be in conformity with Part 4 of BS 5400.
However in mass concrete substructure the following criteria could be adopted.
Where overturning effects areconsidered insubstructures, at any level, always Factor of
Safety should be greater than 1.00
Where F.O.S. ~= - Stability Moment
Overturning Moment
When 1.0<F.O.S. <1.5permissible tensile stress = 0.24 Nzmnr'
When F.O.S. >:.5permissible tensile stress = ~6 N/mm
NOTE: But it i~.agood practice to have the F.O.S. of 1.3 always to cater for
constructional deficiencies.
Capping beams aredesigned for bending moments and shear forces dueto loads acting on
them. Ballast wall inab..tment capping beam is designed to take up horizontal pressure
created by wheel load hohind the capping beam.
Ref - Reynolds Hand Hook
A 40 nun thick bearing seat isprovided for the bearing pad. Sufficient reinforcement is
provided under the seat toresist the splitting forces .

2.2 Loads-
2.2.1 General -
Bridges in Sri Lanka de not need to be designed for effects due to earthquakes as Sri
Lankais not in azone affected by earthquakes.
Generally the loading is to conform and applied according to BS 5400 part 2. Bridges
should be able to resist tle effects of the loads &actions aslisted below.
(1) Dead Loads
(2) Earth Pressure t
(3) Live loads
(4) Braking &Tractl,m of vehicle
(5) Water current
(6) Floating debris 8: Impact
(7) Wind
(8) Temperature
(9) Shrinkage
2.2.2 Dead Loads -
I'llthecase of precast slabs and beams, adverse stresses during handling, transporting and
stacking should be considered.
Inthecase of submersible bridges, theeffect of horizontal forces due to water and impact
of debris and buoyancy should be considered.
DeadLoad includes self weight, kerbs, sidewalks, handrails, uprights, wearing surface and
weight of water mains and lamp posts when applicable.
2.2.3 LiveLoads -
The following loads given in part 2ofBS 5400 areused for design of bridges in the local
highway network.
(a) All bridges should be d~'~.;ignedto resist theeffect ofHA loading specified in the relevant
(b) Bridges should be able ;:0 resist the effect of 30 units of Hls loading for A &B class of
However the following condition is to be applied to suit local conditions.
(i) Always the Hli vehicle is to straddle two national lane widths.
2.2.4 Braking and traction-
The following factors a.e to beapplied to thefull tractive force decided according to the
code in designing subs.ructures for simply supported bridges to suit local conditions.
For Abutments

0.6 X Tractive force,

applied at bearing level.
0.8 X Tractive force,
applied at bearing level.
For Riers
The bridge is to be designed for HA Loading with HA tractive force and checked for
adequacy to carry the nllocated HB Loading. In checking for HB, it is permissible to
decrease the HB Tractive force by 25%to allow for an permissible overstress. However
the live load surcharge should be limited to 10kN/m2.
2.2.5 Horizontal Forces duv to'Vater Current & debris and Log impact-
(a) Horizontal Forces due to Water Current -
Any part of abridge structure which may be submerged in running water should
bedesigned tosustain safety thehorizontal pressure due totheforce of thecurrent
On piers parallel to the direction of the water current, the intensity of pressure is
given by;
0.5 to 0.9
P = KW(v:'2/2g)
P - intensity of Pressure in kg/m/\2 due to the water current
W - unit weight of water in kg/rn/\3
V - velocity of current in rn/sec. at the point where the pressure
.ntensity is being calculated
g - acceleration due to gravity in m/sec.oz
K - ;1constant depending on the shape of pier as follows
with the normei values for W& gequation reduces to P = 52 Kv/\2
square ended pier
Circular piers or semi circular cutwaters
Triangular cutwaters
Trestle type piers
Type c;~'Pier I k II
The velocity V :sassumed to vary linearly fromZero at thepoint of deepest scour
to amaximum at the free surface. The maximum velocity at surface for the
purpose is to be taken ';2 times the maximum mean velocity of the current.
To provide for the possible variation of the direction of the current from the
direction assumed in the design allowance should be made in the design of the
piers for an ex.ravariation in the current direction of 20 degrees. Inthis case
velocity is resolved into two directions, parallel and normal to the pier with k
assumed as l.5 for all except circular piers.
Ref. : Essential. of Bridge Engineering - D.S. Victor
(b) Horizontal Forces due to floating Debris and Impact-
(i) Debris-
Where debris i : , likely, allowance shall be made for the force exerted by a
minimum depth of 1.2mdebris. The length of the debris applied to anyone pier
shall be one half of the sum of the adjacent spans with amaximum of 22.0 m
where the deck is not submerged.
For debris theformula for water current shall be used the value of the constant K
being 1.0.
(ii) Log Impact
When there is ai'J Ossibilityfor driftwood and other drifting items to collide with a
bridge, collisio.: force shall be calculated from equation.

F = 0.1W.v
Where P = Collision force (t)
\V = Weight of drifting item (t)
(2t log is assumed)
= Surface velocity of water (m/s)
Ref: Specification for Highway Bridges Part I - Common Specifications by
J apan Read Association
2.2.6 Wind Loads-
Themean hourly wind s;:-eedis determined for the location of the bridge, fromthe Wind
Loading zone map for ~::riLanka given inFig. 2.1.
This mean hourly wind speed, tobeusedwhen calculating wind pressures using BS5400 -
Part 2, is found from th following table.
;= = : I~' II
ZO N',3
1 75 m.p.h. (33.0 mls)
2 65m.p.h, (28.9m/s)
I' 3 I 50 m.. h. ;22.2 mi s, II
2.2.7 Temperature Stress inConcrete Bridge Decks -
There are three causes resulting temperature stresses in concrete bridge decks.
(a) Effect of change (rise or fall) in the 'Mean Temperature of the body of the deck.
For the purpose cr'this effect, it is assumed that thetemperature of the entire body
of the deck has one 'mean' value at any instant of time and that this 'body mean
temperature' rises or falls over along period of time, thereby wanting the structure
to 'heave'. If the structure is free to permit this 'heave' ie, is free to expand or
contract (e.g. simply supported beam or a continuous beam), this causes no
thermal stress. However, if the structure is unable to permit such aheave (e.g.
arch, frame. fixed beam) ie, offers constraint to its desire to heave, moments etc.,
arethen caused; which create stresses (thermal stress type 1). These moments can
be evaluated by the usual methods of theory of elasticity.
For all bridges, extremes of shade air temperature for the location of the bridge
shall be obtainec from the maps of isotherms given in figure Nos. 2.2 &2.3.
These values have been obtained from extracts fromDepartment of Metealogy.
(b) Temperature Gradient-
Minimum and Maximum shade air temperatures-
Adjustment for height above mean sealevel -
The values of shade air temperature shall be adjusted for heights above 300 m
above sealevel by subtracting 0.5 C per 100 mheight.
Effective bridge temperatures -
The bridge temperatures for different types of construction shall be
derived fr.-rn the shade air temperatures by reference to table No. 2.1. The
different types of construction are as shown in figure No. 2.4.
TableNo. 2.1 Ef~.:~ctiveBridge Temperature
Shade Air
f.- - - .
Type of Superstructures
Gt::UD1 Group 2
08 19 16
09 19 17
10 20 18
11 21 18
12 22 19
13 23 20
14 23 20
15 24 21
16 25 22
17 26 22
18 27 23
19 27 24
20 28 25
21 29 25

30 26
23 30 27
24 3 1 27
I 25 32 28
26 3 3 29
I 27 34 29
28 34 30
29 35 31
! .
30 3 6 3 1
31 37 32
32 3 8 33
33 38 33
34 39 34
3 5 40 35
(c) The effect of Non linear Distribution of temperature across the Deck-Depth.
If thetop surface of theconcrete deck ishotter than it'ssoffit surface, the ordinate
of the thermal ~~radientat any intermediate depth follow anonlinear variation.
Considering be build up of the total thermal gradient, it's uniform part at the
instant of consideration, is akin to the 'body mean temperature', the effect of
change in which over along period of time, is already taken case of in case (a).
However, the .:ariable part, better called the 'differential thermal gradient' would
heat each fibre r-..0 adifferent degree, the variation being non linear. If the fibers
were free of each other (i.e. unrestrained) then they could accept the
corresponding non linear thermal strains xi (x being the coefficient of
expansion/contraction). But since their deformations must follow alinear law
(plane sections must remain plane), they will not accept these non linearly related
strains, and the difference between the final 'linear' strain gradient and the
'unrestrained' s.rain gradient will represent the uneven 'internal disturbance'. It's
strain effect m.ry be called the'Eigenstrain' and its stress effect may be called the
Eigenstress, beth of which would bezero ifonly the thermal gradient were linear
(which isnot). This Eigenstrcss and the Eigenstrain, as can be seen, is purely an
internal entity, not associated with any support reactions.
Eigenstrcs, or: its own, may be small or significant, depending on
(i) depth of section
(ii) thickness &colour of pavement
(iii) wind speed
(iv) orientation of bridge and incidence of sun rays.
(v) ambient temperature
(vi) material properties
thermal conditional
specific heat
thermal diffusiniry
coefficient of thermal expansion and contraction
coefficient of absorptivity
coefficient of surface - heat transfer
(vii) surface temperature
(viii) shape of thermal gradient
The distribu'on of Eigenstres, not being linear, when added to the thermal
'continuity' stress [seeunder (C)] may show significant stress not only at extreme
fibers but als. at intermediate fibers (e.g. mid height portion of webs) which are
heavily loaded under shear. This can produce longitudinal cracks in webs.
(d) Effect of Intc.mediate - support resuaint on theFreeHogging (or Sagging) Desire
ofthe structure caused by unequal Extreme Fibre Temperatures - 'The continuity
In8beam-type deck, thedifference oftempemture between the extreme surfaces
causes hoggiag (or sagging) of the beam.
If the simply supported, it merely hogs (or sags) as its supports do not
prevent rotation, This freedeformation is not a'moment induced' deformation, but
merely a'Strain induced' deformation, and no moment is caused.
However if the beam is continuous, its aforementioned desire to freely hog (or
freely sag) wiil be'constrained' at the intermediate supports (presence of dead load
reactions wilt prevent it from lifting up and presence of supports will prevent it
fromgoing down at their supports. This 'continuity' effect sets up moments that
cause additional stresses called 'continuity stresses'.
Ref: Concrete Bridge Practice by Dr. V.K. Raina
Stress due to emperature should becalculated as per BS5400 cl. 5.4. The shade
air temperature referred to intheclause should betaken from the tables given for
different districts in Sri Lanka.
For minimum effective bridge temperature same pattern isassumed as per table I I
ofBS 5400.
2.2.8 Creep and Shrinkage -
Creep and Shrinkage .mly have to betaken into account when they are considered to be
important Obvious srruations arewhere deflections areimportant and inthe design of the
articulation for abridge.
Loss of prestress due to creep &shrinkage can be calculated using BS 5400 : Part 4.
Shrinkage per unit length is obtained for normal exposure of 70% relative humidity.
Stress dueto shrinkage in reinforced concrete can becalculated using following method.
(a) Shrinkage restrained by the reinforcement;

Stress in reinforcement
= f" ,= E
' E.
. (Aj~)
Stress in concrete
= fel = A. . f'lC
free shrinkage strain refer fig. 2.5
Es modulus of elasticity of steel
As areaof tension reinforcement
Ac area of concrete
~" e
modulur ratio
(b) Shrinkage fully restrained;
Stress in concrete
= fel = tcs . E,
Where ~
- ' 0
Static secant modulus of elasticity of concrete
NOTE,' The value of C 3 to be obtai ned ei ther from BS 5400 : Part 4 : Appendi x
C or BS 8110, ' Part for 80% relati ve humi di ty, (Fi g. 2, 5)
3.1 Geographical Investigation -
A detail survey should be carried out at the proposed location to cover topographical
hydrological and technical details.
3.1.1Topographical Survey -
(a) A minimum length of 150monboth ends of thebridge or the selected location of
thebridge should be considered for detailed survey (i.e. Chain Survey. including
all the permanent &temporary features and levelling) unless there is acurve
encountered ine.e close proximity of the bridge beyond this length. If there is a
curve the Engineer has tojustify the situation and survey should be extended.
(b) Chain survey need not beaclose traverse unless it isavery important location but
the levelling should be aclose survey.
(c) The chainage marked should be always in the direction of the road, (i.e. In
Colombo - Kaney Road chainage 00+00 mshould be started inthe Colombo end
of the bridge) The 00+00 mchainage should be tied.
(d) Longitudinal sections along thecentreline of the road and cross sections should be
recorded systematically with the chainages andthe distances fromthe centre line.
(e) At lease 05 cross sections should be taken at intervals of 05 mclose to the bridge
onboth ends of tle bridge and the balance should be at 10 mintervals and 15m
(f) On acurve of the mad also the cross sections should betaken at intervals of 05 m.
(g) The levels &chaiaages of every expansion joint of the bridge at theL.HS . centre
and R.H.S. should be taken. Also the invert levels of the waterway should be
(h) Cross sections should be taken to adistance at least 15mfrom the centre line of
theroad on either side unless there areconsiderable changes inthe levels. Incase
if there isapossibie deviation of the existing road is involved, the cross section
should be taken as necessary.
If considerable level differences areencountered cross section should be extended
as necessary.
(i) The site survey should include theriver banks to adistance of30 m. If there is a
change inthedirection of thestream thelength should be extended as necessary.
G) The reduced level of the M.S.L. also should be taken if it is marked inthe close
proximity of the oridge by other organisations such as the Survey Department,
Irrigation Department etc..
T.B.M. must be en apermanent structure in close proximity of the bridge.
(k) The direction of ~,orthshould be marked.
(I) If there areservices crossing theriver or carried by thebridge thenecessary details
such as size of the pipe, the distance from the bridge to the pipe line, type &
number of supports etc. should be taken.
(m) High tension power lines or any other structures closer to thebridge which can be
affected during ccnstruction should be noted down.
Thepossibility of cetouring and accommodating traffic during construction should
be found out. SUI'. ey & levelling should cover the detour area.
Possible alternative locations for the bridge apart fromthe existing bridge) to be
considered and thcr merits/demerits noted.
_.1.2 Hydrological Survey-
(a) The flow directioi. of the waterway over which the bridge is to be constructed
should be clearly marked. The banks of the waterway also should be marked.
(b) Bed level and cross sections of river on up stream and down stream sides should
be taken, to adistance of 30 mapproximately .

(c) The lowest water level, the duration of the same and high flood level and
frequency of floods should be gathered from flood gauges and the natives. The
flood marks on the: existing structure should be noted where ever possible.
(d) Scouring of river be.' &river meandering patterns should be checked &any local
scour patterns documented.
(e) Theapproximate SI;-_ of the floating debris if there are any should be inquired &
3.l.3 Technical Survey &Detacs of the Existing Bridge ~
fa) Type of bed material, rock out crop/boulders etc. should be noted down.
Ib) Environmental condition. salinc/rnari ncatmosphere windy condition etc. shoul-iI)" ~
(c) Any visible settlement of the existing structure should be marked. In doing so
particular attention to be given for alignment of parapetslhandrails, kerbs etc.
(d) Sketches of the ~!ridgefoundations, substructure and superstructure must be given
with all dimensons. Where ever possible existing bridge foundation type should
be indicated th-ough inspection or from datacollected by the neighbours.
Conditions of existing structures nearby to be noted if any.
(e) Bearing points (1.1theexisting capping beamof thebridge should bemarked clearly
with dimension..
(f) Details of existing bridge should be taken inthe formof photographs.
3.2 Geotechnical Investigation -
(a) Subsurface Invr stigation -
Detailed sub sur.ace investigations arecarried out inthe formof bore holes using
rotary core percussion drilling machines. In certain cases where good soil
conditions or bed rock areexpected at shallow depths, soil investigations may be
carried out by digging test pits,
Bore holes shou: ,ibecarried out at suitable intervals inthe formof agrid covering
the entire area. The spacing of the grid is decided on the nature of the structure
and the variation of soil conditions at the site.
The Geotechnical Repoi t prepared by the Geotechnical Consultant at the
completion of t.egeotechnical investigation should include:
Description of i'iegeotechnical investigation undertaken ..
Dctai led assessment of stratigraphy and subsurface condition .

Site plan and longitudinal profile/profiles of stratigraphy.

Datum for bore ;'Iolesand co-ordinates of the location of boreholes.
It is desirable to sink c.l the bore holes to bed rock in order to obtain ail necessary
information unless bed reck is at alargedepth and bridge could be founded at ashallow
Additional boreholes ma berequired at sites where thebores indicate variability of sub-
surface conditions.
Thesite investigation should include:
In situ field test: 'which may include standard penetration tests or static cone
penetrometer so.ndings.
Definition of be.irock properties, where applicable.
Colour photographs of cores.
Laboratory classification of main soil types.
Thefollowing soil conditions should be determined as appropriate.
Strati graphy
Physical description and area distribution of each stratum.
Thickness and devation at various locations of top and bottom of each stratum.
For each Stratum of C.<);besiveS<ill
Natural moisture contents.
Atterberg limits..
Shearing strengths (usually quick, undisturbed shear strengths will be necessary).
Extent and magnitude of preconsolidation.
Consolidation characteristics (usually these should be related to a simpler
parameter such as moisture content).
Presence of organic materials or evidence of desiccation or previous soil
disturbance, shearing or sIicken sides.
Swelling characteristic,
Factors affecting rimetable of consolidation suchas internal stratification, especially
thin sand members not otherwise identified.
For each stratl1IDof G[a!.l\.dar Sojl
In situ density, average and range.
Grain size distributions.
Grain shape uniformity etc.
Shear strength c.iaracteristics, which usually may be expressed as an angle of
internal friction.
Presence of orgauc or other deleterious materials.
Ground Water
Piezometric surface over site area, existing, past and probable range in future.
Sources of inflow to each aquifer, where determinable.
Depth over enti resite.
Type of rock and physical properties of intact rock.
Extent and character of weathering.
J oints including distribution, spacing, and whether open or closed.
Solution effect inlimestone or other soluble rocks.
Rock quality designation,
Spycial considerations
Chemistry of so.l or ground water as it would affect buried structures, e.g. sulphate
attack on concrete, or acids as encountered in industrial areas.
Dynamic soil parameters, if required.
Ambient vibration levels, if such could be asource of distress to the proposed
structure or to t5e public.
Problem soils 0\ conditions.
Theunderground investigation that have been obtained by the Engineer should be made
available to the Geotechnical Consultant.
Notwithstanding the above, theresponsibility for the location of underground utilities lies
withthegeotechnical Consultant who should make all appropriate arrangements to ensure
thatunderground utilities will not bedamaged inthe course of geotechnical investigation.
(i) Standard Penetration Test.
Due to the extreme difficulty in obtaining undisturbed samples from granular
soils, their strenghs are determined by taking disturbed samples and carrying out
standard penetration tests. Penetration tests should be done not less than every 1.5
mand at least oneineach of thedifferent soil strata Once thebedrock isreached,
to ensure the rock formation the bore hole is carried to adepth of another 3.0 m.
(ii) RQD, Core recovery &fracture index
Once thebed rock is reached RQD, core recovery and fracture index values are
obtained to classify the quality of rack.
(b) Estimation 0;'Allowable Bearing Pressure
Foundation and other recommendations should include the following as
Assessment cf alternative foundation systems.
Allowable bearing capacities and theappropriate levels of the foundation system.
Estimates of settlements and lateral stability.
Relevant sou-rock design parameters.
Comment on relative cost of alternatives.
Assessment of possible construction problems (e.g. dewatering, usery/permanent
casing, preboring, excavation stability).
Empirical Charts arc referred to obtain shear strength parameters (C,<Iin relation to
standard Penetration test value, in calculating the allowable bearing pressure. Ultimate
bearing capacity is calculated using Terzaghi or Meyerhof equations and afactor of safety
of3 isadopted when computing theallowable bearing capacity. Also empirical charts are
usedinestimating the,allowable bearing pressure usingthe S.P.T. values for an allowable
value of settlement.
Ref: Design of Pile Foundations by MJ _ Tomlinson.
Foundation Analysis &Design by EJ _ Bowels
3.3 Waterway &Length of Bridge -
Piers and abutments should be so located as to make thebest use of foundation condition
available and also not to obstruct water flow. Decision on the number of spans depends
notonly on the requirement of thewaterway, but, economy too should be considered for
reduction inwingwali lengths for increased number of spans. A cost comparison has to
becarried out to decide on thespan length and thenumber of supports, whether to select
lessnumber of supports with large span lengths or to increase thenumber of supports and
provide small span lengths.
(a) Determination oflength and level of Bridge -
For bridges across water courses or rivers thelength has to be decided, taking into
consideration the nature of the water course. A knowledge of the waterway
required at site is also necessary. In general the bridge is constructed to provide
this waterway. The width of waterway provided is the distance between the
abutments less thetotal width of thepiers with allowances made for theeffects due
to theedges. !(the waterway provided by thebridge isrestricted, it will create an
afflux upstreac. and also cause additional sCOlfydue to increased velocities. The
afflux created sl.ould not have any harmful effects inthe region prepared for the
bridge. The effect of theadditional scour or thestability of thefoundation should
also be checker'.
Indetermining i~lewaterway requirements of bridges, thestreams/rivers should be
divided into three groups.
(i) Stream/river those banks and bed with hard and inerodible.
(ii) Stream/river with inerodible banks but with erodible beds.
(iii) Stream/river with erodible banks and bed.
Asthe extrawaterway required during the floods may create partly by rising water
level and partly by the flood water causing scour in the bed and banks, it is
necessary tostudy the nature and theaction of thescour inriver/stream banks and
bed. Depth of scour should bedetermined, and if thebridge is founded above the
scour depth aSI) itable protection for bridge piers/abutments should be done.
While designing the water way through bridges. " afflux" has to be calculated in
caseof bridges where there isareduction intheoverall width ofthe waterway over
the natural width. The afflux should be kept minimum and limited as far as
possible to 150mm, otherwise when there isahigher affiux, the more will be the
velocity produced through the obstruction. Hence an estimation of the afflux is
necessary in de.ermining the soffit of the deck.
Ref: Considerations intheDesign &. Sinking of Well Foundations, for Bridge
Piers by B. Balwant Rao &C. Muthuswamy.
(b) Determination Of Design Maximum Discharge-
A number of empirical formulae are available for estimating the maximum
discharge at apoint on ariver or any other water course. These formulae cannot
be applied indiscriminately as they have been derived for specified condition.
Hence for aparticular bridge sitethe formula applicable to specific conditions of
the catchment hes to be selected and used. This is very important as otherwise
spurious result may be obtained. It is also necessary to check the validity of the
results thus obtained by the following commonly used methods for estimation of
maximum flood discharge.
(i) Area Velocity Method.
(ii) Using Rational formulae involving the rainfall and other Characteristics.
Using recorded d:taon existing structures onthe same waterway inthevicinity or
by collecting dat.. through inspection and investigation.
(i) Area Velocity Method:
The cross sectional areaof the river ismeasured inastraight reach andthis
is rnultipl.ed by the velocity calculated fromthe Maning's Formula.
(ii) Rational Formula :
The catchment is thearea upstream of apoint in the river from which all
rain water falling in that area will tend to flow to that point. This is
computed with the help of Topography sheets.
Therainfall records inthecatchment are obtained fromthe Irrigation Department
or the Meteorological Department.
Ref: 01.
Bridge Engineering by S. Ponnuswamy
Essentials of Bridge Engineering by D.l Victor
Design ofIrrigation head works for small catchments by - A.lP.
(c) Spacing and Location of Piers & Ahutments :
The positioning [;;ldspacing of the piers and abutments arefinally decided taking
into consideration the requirements of the waterway outlined above and the result
of the bore hole investigations and available standard beam lengths after
considering thee. onomic aspects for alternate proposals for different typeof super
structure as well as substructures.
Thesuperstructure isthevisible feature of the bridge. By selecting the correct shape for
m e superstructure aesthetic appearance of thebridge isenhanced. Superstructure consists
of thedeck, kerbs. hand rails, uprights and lamp posts. Service ducts arealso provided in
the superstructure as a means for carrying service mains across the river.
A bridgemay beright or ;:kew. Skew angle isdefined as the inclination of the abutment
totheperpendicular to its rree edge. A bridge with a skew angle of zero degrees is aright
bridge. In simply suppor ed bridges the effect of skew in general is neglected up to 20
degreesand if the skew angle ismore than that. bridge deck should be designed to resist

Thebridgedeck may be e.rher of reinforced or prestressed concrete. Factors that affect
the choice of deck are the spans. foundation condition, aesthetics etc..
AlongtheRoad Network ~,II bridge decks should provide for carriageway widths. to suit
thetrafficrequirements as given below. A minimum width of7.4 mfor Class A roads and
aminimumwidth of6.8 171 for Class Broads should be maintained with adequately wide
foot walksoneither side. ';"'heminimum foot walk width adopted is 1.2mwhich varies
to alarger width depending onthe specific location with respect to the pedestrian volume.
i ADT PCU/day 4000v
- 25000 - 18000 - 300 - <300
40000 25000 18000
} 2
2(2x7.0) .12x3,7
.__ . I
For bridges over highway and railway a minimum vertical clearance of 5.25 m should be
The approach road layout along with the bridge centre line should be designed in
accordance with the ; Iighway Designs Manual which includes design of horizontal and
vertical alignments. !.ongitudinal camber also depends on the aesthetic requirements and
type of construction. Cross camber is so designed (to a slope of 1:60 for concrete bridges)
to lead the water to t:le lower kerb which selves as a surface drain leading water through
the rainwater outlets.
Types of bridges are , lassificd depending on the material used and the type of construction
adopted'. The common types of bridges are :-
1) Concrete Bri.lges
2) Steel Bridge=
3) Stone or bride masonry arch Bridges
4) Concrete arcl. Bridges
5) Timber Bridges
6) Box culverts
Concrete bridges are used in most of the places, because oflong life span and speed of
construction. The materials for construction of concrete bridges are readily available. It
has also been found tl.u the maintenance of concrete bridges is less costly than for other
types of bridges.
On account of the shortage of steel involvement of foreign exchange and non availability
of rolled sections, it is preferable to avoid use of steel bridges as far as possible. However,
where steel trusses in ::ood condition from dismantled bridges are available, these can be
used on certain class ,:f roads. A disadvantage in using steel bridges is the high cost of
maintenance .

For small culverts and ondges of moderate span, where the available headway is adequate.
stone or brick masonry arches can be used with advantage when bricks or stones are locally
available. Services of skilled workmen me required for this type of construction.
Concrete arch bridges are generally used in places to fit into the aesthetic appearance of
thearea. In hilly areas. where the velocity of flowing water is such that it is not possible
toconstruct any intermediate piers, aconcrete arch bridge is advantageous and convenient.
Use of timber bridges i,: limited to areas \. ,hen timber logs are found in plenty. As timber
gets easily deteriorated under normal weather conditions, such bridges are generally built
for temporary construction and for light loadings.
At places where the flood spread is large, since providing a all weather bridge is
uneconomical, a submersible bridge is acceptable. It effects great economy of
construction. However the formation level of the structure should be fixed depending on
the period of inundatic " of the structure.
Inaddition, the type of ~'ridge, to be provided at a site is generally decided on economic
analysis, availability o: materials andCIlSC' of construction. Use of precast prerensioned
beam in the bridge decx hac; the advantage of case of construction due to the f~ryffiade
product as well as the low thickness of deck in the case of design of the vertical profile for
low level approaches. However the diDicu:ties that may have to be encountered in the
transportation of prer ast beam with respect to the location of the bridge should be
considered. Before decision is taken to adopt apost tensioned beam deck for the bridge,
the possibility of pro" ding a beam casting yard close to the bridge location should be
looked into. Standard nrccast prctcnsioned beams are available from 4.3 mupto 16.23 m.
A combination of pretcnsioned/post tensioned beam with precast, 16.23 munit is available
for spans of 19 m .
The commonly used bridge types and components arc described here in detail. It is the
decision of the desig.ier to adopt or to deviate from the types indicated herein as
appropriate to the circum stances
5.1 Foundations:
Types of foundations .xnnrnonly used ar
(a) Shallow foundations
Spread footing iounded on rock or 0nsuitable soil strata.
(b) Deep Foundations
(l) Pile Fotndations
(i) Cw;t Insitu or Bored f'tb
(ii) Precast driven Pi!.:;s
(iii) Ti-nber Piles
(2) Caisson Foundations
(i) Cii cular
(ii) Rc 'tangular
The choice of the type of foundation depends primarily on following;
(a) Nature of Soil Sl rata
(b) Magnitude of tl. loads to be carried
(c) Site conditions
(d) Economy
(e) Availability of Construction Techmques,
(I) Maximum likely scour depth
(g) Minimum grip length required Inthe case of deep foundations
Foundation types can be- classified as shallow &deep. Spread footing & side by side
cassons can be consider: .d as shallow ff'und.'l:iom and spread footing can be provided
~J cre asuitable soil strar.m can be found ;:11 a shallow depth within about 3-4 m below
groundlbcd level. Where . he founding layer is b(twcen 4.0 - 6.0 Inside by side caissons,
animprovise method of ~::read foundation could be adopted. Where water table is high,
theproblems of cofferdai.. ing and de-watering should be considered when adopting these
types of foundations,
Pilefoundations may beadopted when suitable bearing strata are found deeper than 6.0
m fromground level. Bored piles should be adopted when driven piles are liable to
damageexisting structures.
Pre-castpiles or cased insitu piles arepreferred where peat over layers are found or
when foundations have to be constructed in water.
Timberpiles areused where there is norisk of decay of timber and loads to betransmitted
fromthe structure are not excessive.
In thedesign of driven ;Iiles in particular, two different capacities should be taken into
(a) The capacity of the pile as a structural member
(b) The capacity of the pile to transmit loads to the foundation material.
III the case of piles on good rock the capacity is governed by condition (a). Where
significanthorizontal forces are present, raked piles could be used.
Caissonfoundations am~large diameter bored piles areused when heavy loads have to be
transmittedand when tue foundations have (0be carried very deep.
5.2 Substructure -
Thesubstructuremainly consists of threecomponents, abutments andwingwalls andpiers.
Abutments,wingwalls aridpiers must be so proportioned soas to satisfy both the practical
aswell as theoretical consideration S. Selection of the type of substructure should be
carriedouttosuit thepar: icular siteconditions. Alternative proposals should beconsidered
for economic feasibiliry. The overall dimensions are first determined from practical
considerations and components are designed to resist the various forces acting on them.
Theheight of abutment and/or piers should be selected to give a sufficient clearance
betweenthehighest flood level and the bearing level) unless designed as asubmersible
bridge. This freeboard t.'; , usually taken as 1.0ill, or aminimum of 0.6 mdueto restricted
conditions. Partial or ~jl!flooding is not acceptable on Class A &Broads unless a
considerablesavings on construcrlon may be achieved on bridges oflesser classification
h!' providingreduced wa.erway area and accepting short duration flooding by floods with
shorterthanthefull Design Recurrence Interval. The selection depends onthenumber of
parameters, including availabil ityof alternative routes, short terminconvenience connected
withshortduration floodng weighed against [hecost saving. The width and length of the
substructuresare governed by the loads to be carried (both vertical and horizontal) self
weight(necessary to redi.ce loads on foundation), economy in construction, use of local
material to amaximum ;"Indpossible obstructions of waterway in the case of piers.
5.2.1 Abutments-
Different types of abutments commonly used are;
Mass concrete
Reinforced conCi ~te- 1. Reinforced concrete wall
2. Reinforced concrete column (open
2 0
Assessment of Loads:
Openabutments aremore economical if there IS no risk of earth fill being washed away
asinthe case of flyover or bridges with protected banks.
(1) Vertical Loads (i) Dead Load reactions -
From Superstructure
(ri) Live Load reactions -
From Superstructure
(di) Self Weight
(iv) Buoyancy
(2) Horizontal Loads (i) Earth Pressure
(ii) Pressure due to Surcharge
(iii) Tractive Force
(iv) Temperature effects
(v) Shrinkage effects.
Earth pressure and pressure due to surcharge aredetermined fromRankine formula. For
tractiveforce and live loads reference should be made to the notes given under loads.
Inaddition, abutment should bechecked for vertical and horizontal forces acting during
construction stage.
Proppedabutment type ~:~TUctures often provide an economical solution for single short
span bridges, provided that complete scouring of the till behind abutments can be
eliminated. Significant part of the horizontal forces is transferred through the deck
betweentheabutments widonly the unbalanced horizontal forces need to be resisted by
5.2.2 Wingwalls-
Different types of wingv.alls commonly used are;
(a) Wingwalls cantilevered from abutments
(b) Mass concrete wngwalls
(c) Reinforced conc.ete wingwalls.
(d) Sheet pile wingwalls.
Forshortwingwalls of m-sdi urnheights and where there isno risk of scour cantilever type
maybe used.
Wingwalls are to be designed as earth retaining structures subjected to active earth
pressure. The mass concrete stepped section is to be designed as sloped back retaining
wallonthestepped side. However to beconservative thevertical component of the earth
pressuremay be ignored and the full pressure assumed to act horizontally.
Sheetpile wingwalls are designed according to standard design practice.
~\~f ~evrO\dsTi~~Boo"
Weep holes are provided inabutments and wingwalls to reduce thebuild up of porewater
pressure inthe earth rill behind. They are usually spaced at 1.5mcentres horizontally and
vertically as appropnate. The lowest row of weep holes is provided at 0.3 mabove the
normal water level.
When abutments anu wingwalls arefounded at different levels onsoils of different bearing
capacities, a slip joint between the abutment and the wingwall from top to bottom is
5.2.3 Piers -
Different types of ;:iers commonly used are;
(a) Mass concrete stems
(b) Reinforced concrete walls
(c) Reinforced concrete colwnns
Piers should be checked for the following loads.
(1) (i) Dead load reaction
(ii) Self weight
(iii) Live load reaction
(a) Both spans loaded
(b) One span loaded
(iv) Buoyancy
Vertical Leads -
(2) Horizontal "Forces-
Longitudinal Direction (i)
Tractive force
Force due to water current
Force due to floating debris &impact.
Temperature effects
Shrinkage effects
Transverse Direction (i)
Force due to water current
Force due to floating debris & impact
The design criteria adopted for mass concrete piers is given under stresses inthe note.
5.3 Superstructure-
When selecting tne type of bridge superstructures, span, length, location of bridge,
maximum deck tlickness that could be accommodated etc. should be considered.
For short spans, up to about 6 m Rfc slabs or pre-tensioned rectangular units can be
provided andfor spans of 6m- 19mmdecks with pre-tensioned P.S.c. beams placed side
by side with insitu infiller concrete deck and for spans more than 19mpost tensioned
P.S.C. beams with post tensioned or reinforced concrete deck slab can be provided
When deciding en the length of precast beams consideration should be given to the
transportation capability and if post tensioned beams areused the space required for post
tensioningbed anditsproximity tothebridgesiteshouldbeconsidered.
Thecommontypes of structural arrangement of bridgedecks are;
(a) Plain SlabDeck, R.C. or precast P.S.C. units
(b) Beam&SlabDecks.
(c) Steel concretecompositedeck
(a) Plain SlabDr.cks:
Mostlyusedfor shortspans. Theyarealsousedfor largerspanswherelimitations
onconstruction depthandeconomy aregoverningfactors of design.
Thedifferent '~pes that havebeen adoptedare;
(1) Plain concrete slab - Precast or Insitu
(2) Composite construction of precast prestressed concrete beams withor
without insitu infiller concrete to formthe deck slab. Type precast
prestressed beams of standard lengths are available for this type of
(b) Beam& SlabDecks:
Thedeckcomprisesof several longitudinal beamsandtransversediaphragmswith
aconcretedeck slab. Thebeams maybeeither ofT,! or Box Section.
Thedifferent types that arebeingusedare;
(1) . Reinforced concretebeamandslab
(2) Prestressed concretebeamwithendandintermediate diaphragms with
(i) Prestressed concretedeck slab or
(ii) R.einforcedconcretedeck slab
(c) Steel concrete.composite deck
Thedeckcomprisesof several longitudinal steel beamwithconcreteslabontop.
5.3.1Designof Superstructure -
Analysisof superstructure iscarriedout usingthefollowingmethods.
1. 'Elastic Analysis egoLoadDistribution
2 3
02. Plastic Analysis : eg. Yield line theory
Permissible stresses to be adopted are to be in conformity with Part 4 ofBS 5400. In
prestressedconcrete decks ingeneral, permissible stresses to be inaccordance with Class
II requirements ofBS 5400.
(a) Slab Decks -
Slab decks are designed as one way spanning, either simply supported or
(b) Beam and Slab Decks-
Reinforced concrete deck slab is designed in the same way as the slab bridge.
InthePosttensioned slab prestressing steel isdesigned using empirical method proposed
byGuyonin "Prestressed Concrete", However nominal reinforcement of 0.1% is also
providedinthedirection of prestress. In the perpendicular direction steel is provided to
resisttheBending Moments and Shear forces in that direction.
Compositeaction of the slao may betaken into account in the design of the longitudinal
beams.Beamisdesigned hi cater for the portion of lane load depending on the spacing.
Thediaphragms are placed. at supports, mid span and quarter span points.
Transversemoments and lcngitudinal moments due to HB loading is worked out using
deck analysis.
Ref. : Concrete Bridge Design by R.E. Rowe
S A Bridge Bearings -
Loadsimposedby thevehicle onthe superstructure aretransmitted to substructure through
thf; bearing.

Bearingsmay be of steel concrete or rubber.

Bearingsshould designed in accordance with BS 5400 Part 9.1.
S . 5 Other Features of Superstructure -
Handrails, Uprights &Parapets -
Parapets and Handrails may be of masonry or concrete. Shape of hand rail and
upright or parapet is an architectural feature. The minimum height of the railing
or parapet of ahigh'..vaybridge should be 1.0m.
Parapets are not normally designed for collision loads and may be designed for
pedestrian loads. Where the situation demands crash barriers should be used.
EndPilasters -
End pilasters may be of masonry or reinforced concrete. The size and shape is
designed to give a good appearance to the bridge.
Kerbs are provided at theedge of carriageway to deflect the vehicle back. Kerbs
should be asolid section not less than 225 mmwide at base and not less than 225
mmhigh above the adjacent road surface.
Serviceducts -
Service ducts are provided under the sidewalks to carry cables and water mains.
Lam p Posts -
Spacing of lamp posts, height of lamp posts, etc. are designed according to the
illumination requirements. Provision shall bemade inthedeck or the sub-structure
to accommodate the lamp post.
Expansion J oints -
In the case of simply supported spans there is a complete separation between
abutting spans wuich permits change inlength of superstructure duetotemperature
variation. The gap in-between should besufficient to accommodate the expansion
of the deck within temperature range expected. Expansionjoints should extend
over the entire width of the deck. It should not allow penetration of water to
capping beams. As it is very difficult to achieve full water proofing of the
expansion joints -m d particularly to maintain through out the life of the structure,
it may be acceptable on some bridges and much more economical and easier to
allow the surface water to penetrate thejoint and to make appropriate provisions
for its drainage.
Rain water outlets -
Rain water outlets are usually kept at 4.5to 6 mcentres. Rainwater outlets should
project out sidethe deck sufficiently to prevent water dripping onany part of deck
or substructure.
6.1 Scope
TheseGuidelines are intended to beused for low level bridges subjected to submergence
by floods frequently.
TheseGuidelines arenot .ntended for use as acode of practice or adesign code. It is the
responsibilityof the designer to consider and evaluate all aspects relevant to the bridge
underconsideration. The design process may need to include seeking the opinion of all
theusersof the bridge. o~~questions such as the level of service. location and choice of
2 S
6.1 Introduction
BridgeType T Flooding Frequency
IFrequently submerged
1 100 year
IHigh-levelbridge.l 'I
Bridgessubjected to sui.mergence areusually adopted for reasons of economy often where
thedifference between ~')rrna1water level and the flood level islarge but the floods are of
relativelyshort duration, or where it isimpractical toraise thebridge and approaches above
floodlevel because of the resulting backwater effects. This type of crossing may also be
chosenwhere usage is limited and flood free alternatives exist.
6 . 2 . i Location
Submersiblebridges are suitable for flat and arid areas inland where large floods occur
infrequentlyor inremote forested hilly areas where flash floods could be frequent but last
onlyashort time. Submersible bridges arealso suitable on large flood plains as flow over
theapproach roads is often acceptable and velocities are generally not high.
6.2.2 ProportioningBridge & Approaches
Theentirebridge structure should bedesigned to minimize catching debris or at least to
alloweasyremoval of any debris caught. Bridges with short individual spans tend to catch
moredebristhan those w~::nlonger individual spans. Where debris loading is significant
spanlengthsless than 10 metres should be avoided. The span lengths chosen should at
leastexceed the expected lengths of debris to be passed.
Acompromisetor the calculated backwater, and drag effects must be made between the
advantagesof longer span: with fewer piers (but incurring adeeper superstructure) and
shorterspans with more piers (but allowing ashallower superstructure),
6.2.3 Deck Level & Trafficability
Ifstaticplusvelocity head at the crown or highest edge of acarriageway exceeds 300 mm
overtoppingflood depths must always be indicated with gauge markers.
Thusovertopping of submersible bridges and their road approach embankments may be
toleratedtoprovide traffical.ility for ariver crossings subject to low serviceability floods.
Alternatively, the bridge deck could be placed above low flood level (but for economic
reasons, belowlarger flood levels while theapproaches, set at alower predetermined level,
couldpermit overtopping by the low flood and yet still remain trafficable.
6.2.4Vertical Alignment
Alevel grading should be provided for thefull length of bridge so that the bridge acts as
aweirwhen the rising upstream water surface just over-tops it. If only portions of the
structureareovertopped 6e pattern of flow inthe stream could be severely disturbed. A
deckonagrade or vertical curve isalso ahazard to traffic, because thewater depth is not
constant Drivers negotiating a flooded crossing should not encounter an unexpected
increaseindepth of water.
6.2.5Horizontal Alignment
Submersiblebridges should beon astraight alignment and located as square as possible
tothemost common direction of flood flow.
6.2.6 DeckCrossfall
Asthe water subsides, debris and silt will tend to be left on the upstream side of
submersiblebridge with normal two-way crossfall. For this reason, the preferred deck
sectionwith one-way falling crossfall toward the downstream side is preferable.
6.3 Analysis
3.1 Uplift&Instability
The stability of submerged bridge should be assessed for both uplift and overturning
effectsfromthe following simultaneously occurring forces due to the stream flow, viz:
(a) Buoyancy uplift
(b) Hydrodynamic dra-; forces resulting from stream flow past the superstructure
andlor on debris ceught against the upstream edge of the superstructure;
(c) Unbalanced hydrostatic pressures acting on theupstream sides of the bridge from
ponding ~ux effect), aggravated by the collection of debris;
(d) Floating object impact forces
(e) Somesuperstructures may also trap debris, which if buoyant, will create further
uplift forces.
It isessential that all parts or thestructure are considered for reduction of dead load due
tobuoyancy when the bricge is submerged. The possible use of concrete aggregates
lighterinweight than the assumed design value causing over estimates of the stabilizing
deadloadof thestructure should also beconsidered. The possibility of air pockets being
trappedunder the deck creating destabilising buoyancy should also be considered.
Calculationof thedestabilisi vgforces listed above onbridges fromstream flow effects are
oftensomewhat uncertain due to lack of data on actual flood flow and debris as well as
knowledgeof appropriate drag factors or hydraulic flow patterns to be used.
2 7
To account for uncertainties, the bridge must have avery large factor of safety against
instability under flood submergence. Unless the stabilizing restraint provided by gravity
force provides a factor of safety of at least 02 or more on unfactored loads the
superstructure must be securely tied down to the substructure.
6.3.2 Critical Flood Levels & Velocities
It is suggested the following load case categories for submersible bridges be considered.
(a) Partial submergence of superstructure
(b) Overtopping of superstructure
(c) Deep submergence of superstructure
Stream velocities as well as frequency, magnitude and duration of the respective
submergence calculated for various flood flows will determine the required scour
protection of the eml.ankrnents for the road approaches and abutments. Where road
approach or bridge abutment embankment isovertopped byflood waters special protection
works are required. Additional culvert openings may be required
6.4 Suitability of Alternative Structures
6.4.1 Kerbs & Barriers
This section deals with some aspects of thechoice of appropriate kerbs and barriers. The
requirements are sometimes contradicting, e.g. a grill type pedestrian or combined
traffic/pedestrian barrier isnot suitable for sites with substantial amounts of debris, yet it
mayberequired if the!,ridge islocated intown and there is heavy pedestrian usage. The
choiceof the appropriate kerb or barrier depends on circumstances. Where deep water
ispresent use os collapsible railing should be considered.
If itisconsidered that kerbs arewarranted, they should either becastellated (short sections
of kerb sepasated by full-depth gaps not exceeding 200 mm) or if continuous, provided
withslots to allow water to drain freely from the deck and to aid the manual removal of
debris. Small diameter drainage holes andscupper pipes areprone toclocking with debris.
It is desirable to select a form of superstructure with a shallow depth, to minimize
hydrodynamic force, be__ ckwater and scour effect particularly at the critical flood height
whenthe bridge and approaches are about to be overtopped.
Closedcell structures si-chassingleandmulticell steel or concrete box girders, steel trusses
orcomposite steel or co.crete through girders, multicelled decks formed fromlinked broad
flange concrete girders, voided concrete slabs, and other voided concrete girders are
generally considered unsuitable.
All parts of concrete '",uperstructures subject to frequent flood submergence must be
consideredto be'incontact with water' for calculation of required cover to prestressed and
non-stressedreinforcement. This may lead to slightly greater cover requirements for PSC
girders, especially in rockets where silt may be trapped and remain damp after
Ajudgement must be made whether siltation due to submergence will occur frequently or
onlyrarely in the life of 1hebridge.
6.4J Bearings &Hold-down "Restraints
Itisusual to provide separate anchor bars. Typically 24 mm diameter galvanized steel
holdingdown bolts arespecified between each P.S.C. plank on composite slab structures
whilemore substantial angle brackets may be specified to straddle each P.S.C. girder on
compositedecked structures. Shear blocks or dowels connected between end diaphragms
andabutments or piers will prevent asubmerged superstructure fromlateral displacement.
Ifelastomeric bearings are used, theholding-down bolts should be suitably de-bonded and
anair space left above the heads of the bolts, to allow the bearings to deform under live
load. Frictional restraint against creep of elastorneric bearings isdiminished during flood
submergencedue to reduced bearing reactions fromsuperstructure buoyancy. Under the
influenceof rotation fromhogging effects this creep usually moves the bearings towards
thecentre of the girder spans.
6.4.4 Substructure
Thefoundations for piers and abutments of all bridges crossing fast flowing waterways
shouldeither be keyed onti: rock or cast onpiled footings. This avoids the possibility of
underminingof the base material under the foundation footing pads by the formation of
adjacentlocal scour holes. Eddies also tend to wash out fill behind abutments. Local
scourfromturbulence around piers may bereduced by hydraulically shaping thepile caps
6.(5 Batter Protection
Protectionworks of embankments adjacent toabutments will besimilar to those for high
levelbridgeand may include rock fill, rip-rap enclose, concrete revetment mattresses or
rigidreinforced concrete slabs as well as sheet pile toe walls. However abutment batter
protectionof submersible bridges not only must be secured against stream bed scour but
m ust besecured against SCOtt! effect during overtopping.
Grassingof batters may beadequate when thevelocity of water flow over theembankment
islessthan1.5metres/sec. Generally this is the case when tailwater levels are not more
thanaround300 mmbelow tl.edownstream edge of the road formation when overtopping
firstoccurs. Grass batters may not be suitable where frequent overtopping occurs for a
periodof morethan two or three hours during floods. Grass batters are not suitable for
shadedareas under the bridge superstructure.
Moreelaborateprotection wo.ks against scour are detailed similarly to the requirements
forcauseways. It is essential ~;l thefollowing protection works areeither taken below the
anticipatedstreambed general scour level or local scour holedepths using cut-offtrenches,
orareprovided with level aprons extending into the waterway to accommodate scour
erosion.Inparticular. batter protection works subject to flood submergence must also be
anchoredalong their upper edges to resist scour erosion during overtopping.
2 9
Nominalcover to all reinforcement (including links) to meet durability requirements - Adopted
fromBS 5400 for Sri Lankan Practice.
Environment Examples Nominal cover (in any case
should notbe less than the
d!a. of the bar) (mm)
Concrete Grade
25 30 40 50
Extreme 65 55
Concretesurfaces expo red Parts of structure in contact
tosbrasi veaction by sea with sea water
Very Severe 50 40
Concretesurfaces directly Concrete adjacent to the sea
affectedby sea water spray
Severe 50 45 35 30
IC oncrete surfaces exposed \Valls and structure supports
todrivingrain romote form the
or carriageway
alternativewetting and Bridge deck soffits Buried
E :U 1:s of structure
IModerate 50 40 30 25
Concretesurface above Surface protected by bridge
groundlevel and fully deck water proofing or by
shelteredagainst all of the . permanent formwork
followingrain sea water Interior surface of
spray pedestrian subways voided
superstructure or cellular
abutments concrete
t..:!,rmanently under water
1.1 Scope
TheseGuidelines are intended to be used for low and intermediate-level bridges subjected to
submergenceby floods with Average Recurrence Intervals (ARl) less than 100years.
Thisdocument is not intended for use as a code of practice or a design code. It is the
responsibilityof the designer to consider and evaluate all aspects relevant to the bridge under
consideration. The design process may need to include seeking the opinion of all the users of the
bridge,on questions such as the level of service, location and choice of barriers.
A bridgewith a superstructure which may be partially or fully submerged by any flood with
respectto Average Recurrence Interval CARl) is specified below. This return frequency was
generallyadopted as the design frequency for bridges and large culverts.
BridgeType r 'Flooding Frequency Typical ARI
Low-level bridge Frequently flooded <20 *-
Intermediate-level bridge Rarely flooded
20>11to <100
Hgh-level bridge
Clearance above 100 year >100
* The20year ARI demarcation between frequently and rarely flooded bridges isindicative only
andareduced value may be more appropriate for some bridges that are intended to provide
lowerlevels of service.
A loworintermediate-level type of crossing is usually adopted for reasons of economy often
wherethedifference between normal water level and the flood level is large but the floods are
ofrelativelyshort dilration, or where it is impractical to raise the bridge and approaches above
floodlevel because of the resulting backwater effects. This type of crossing may also be chosen
whereusage is limited and ficod free alternatives exist.
2.1 Location
Low-level bridges aresuitable for flat and arid areas inland wherelarge floods occur infrequently
orinremoteforested hilly area, where flash floods could befrequent but last only ashort time.
Largefood plains are also su: table as flow over the approach roads is often acceptable and
velocitiesare generally not high.
TIleideal low-level bridge siteis where the streambed isbroad and shallow, with gently sloping
banks. Thebridge should be located on astraight reach of the stream, not subject to scour or
Ifthebridgeislocated inaposit(onwhere the road approaches or bridge itself cannot be suitably
protectedagainst amoving cha.inel, scour, debris or siltation, the economical advantage of the
low-levelcrossing may be outweighed by maintenance costs.
2.2Proportioning Bridge &,<t. pproaches
Ideally,any low-level bridge should cross the majority of the stream channel to minimize the
lengthof approach embankments which would constrict the flow of water. This may be
impractical for wide flood pl . ins. Where submerged bridge structures and embankments do
constrictthe stream channel tho:effects of backwater, local stream velocity increase and scour
The batters of the approach embankments should, as far as possible, follow the contours of the
streambanks. If thebanks are steep, the embankment should besmoothly transitioned into the
channeltoprevent sudden changes inthe stream velocity pattern. Otherwise the embankment
willformabackwater with resulting siltation which will cause constant maintenance problems.
Eddiesand turbulence around rhe ends ofuntransitioncd embankments will cause local scour
requiringfurther maintenance
The entirebridge structure should bedesigned to minimize catching debris or at least to allow
easy removal of any debris caught. Bridges with short individual spans tend to catch more debris
thanthosewith longer individual spans. Where debris loading issignificant span lengths lessthan
10metres should be avoided. The span lengths chosen should at least exceed the expected
lengthsof debris to be passed.
A compromise for the calculated backwater, and drag effects must be made between the
advantagesof longer spans with fewer piers (but incurring adeeper superstructure) and shorter
spans with more piers (but allowing ashallower superstructure).
2.3 Deck Level & Trafficabiliey
Thedecklevel should bekept ss low as possible, having regard to the needs of traffic and the
frequencyof overtopping, sothat thestructure creates theleast restriction tothepassage of debris
attimesof high flood. Ifa stream tends to pick up and carry large driftwood at a certain flood
level, thedeck level should preferably belower than this flood level. Nevertheless, theclearance
abovethestream bed should not bereduced to such anextent that drift carried by intermediate
flowsistrapped beneath the deck.
(Staticplus velocity )lead) at tile crown or highest edge of a carriageway exceeds 300 mm
(Ref. 14.) Overtopping flood depths must always be indicated with gauge markers.
Thus overtopping of low level bridges and their road approach embankments may be tolerated
toprovidetrafficability for a river crossings subject to 20 year (AIR)serviceability floods.
Alternatively, the bridge deck could be placed above the 20 year (AIR) flood level (but for
economicreasons. below larger .lood levels while theapproaches. set at alower predetermined
level,could permit overtopping by the 20 year (AIR) flood and yet still remain trafficable.
Floodsof larger return intervals may require closure ofthe crossing.
1.4Vertical Alignment
Alevelgradingshould beprovided for the full length of alow-level bridge sothat thebridge acts
asaweir when the rising upstream water surface just over-tops it. If only portions of the
structureareovertopped the pattern of flow in the stream could be severely disturbed. A deck
onagradeor vertical curve is also ahazard to traffic, because the water depth is not constant.
Driversnegotiating aflooded crossing should not encounter anunexpected increase in depth of
2.5 Horizontal Alignment
Low-levelbridges should be straight and located as square as possible to the most common
direction of flood flow. A skewed or horizontally curved bridge superstructure, when
submerged, directs the flow sideways towards the downstream abutment. The resulting
turbulencemay cause serious cour at this abutment. Moderate skews or very large horizontal
radiimaybetolerated provided that thedownstream abutment and adjacent embankment batters
are adequateprotected against scour.
2.6 DeckCrossfall
Asthewater subsides, debris and silt will tend tobe left on theupstream sideof low-level bridge
with normal two-way crossfall. For this reason, the preferred deck section in the past has
adopted aslight one-way crossfall falling toward thedownstream side. However such a super-
elevateddesign of thebridge matching adjacent road approach may incur greater damage
totheupstreamedge of road p.rvements fromincrease inflowvelocity. Super-elevated bridges
with soffits falling downstream may trap debris underneath the superstructure and be more
susceptibleto vertical 'lift' effects. Also, it is considered safer to drive across an overtopped
bridgewithcrossfall falling, instead, towards upstream. Therefore, cross-sections with normal
twowaycrossfall areprobably thebest compromise although the choice of deck crossfall will
dependonthe type of bridge. structure proposed and local conditions for stream velocity and
3.1 Uplift &Instability
TIlestabilityof submerged bridge should beassessed for both uplift and overturning effects from
ihe following simultaneously occurring forces due to the stream flow, viz:
(a) Buoyancy uplift
(b) Hydrodynamicdrag forces resuJ ting from'form' streamflowpast the superstructure and/or

ondebris caught against the upstream edge of the superstructure;

(c) Unbalancedhydrostatic ;.:;ressuresacting on the upstream sides of thebridge fromponding
(afflux effect), aggravated by the collection of debris;
(d) Floatingobject impact f.)rces
(e) Vertical Tift' forces actir-g under superstructures with soffits inclined to the stream flow.
(0 Some superstructures may also trap debris, which ifbuoyant, will create further uplift
Notethat super-elevated bridg-es with superstructures soffits falling on a constant gradient
towards downstream \,.111 be pcrticularly susceptible to these latter two effects(e) and (f).
If sessential that all parts of ~hestructure are considered for reduction of dead load due to
buoyancy when the bridge is s.ibrnerged. Attention is drawn to the possible use of concrete
aggregates lighter in weight than the assumed design value causing over estimates of the
stabilizing dead load of thestructure andalso tothepossibility of air pockets being trapped under
thedeck creating destabilising buoyancy.
Calculation of thedestabilisine forces listed above on bridges fromstream flow effects areoften
somewhat uncertain due to lac': of data on actual flood flow and debris aswell as knowledge of
appropriate drag factors or hydraulic flow patterns to be used.
For calculation purposes damage to piers from log impact is estimates at levels in other
countries. It is cautioned that the 2 tonne mass still specified for log impact in the
AUSTROADS Bridge Design Code may not represent arealistically sized log and the stopping
distanceassumed incalculations significantly affects the forces generated. Damage to bridge
piers from log impact with an estimated 5 to 6 tonne mass has recently occurred in NSW.
Current practice within many UK consultancy firms istoassume a 10tonne mass for logimpact.
Alsoadebris mat collected against thesideof thebridge may offer acushioning effect to impact
fromlarge floating objects, an uncushioned blow could displace anear buoyant. Buoyancy of
thesuperstructure reduces the effectiveness of the lateral restraints.
Therefore, to account for these uncertainties, thebridge must have avery large factor of safety
against instability under flood cubmergence. Unless the stabilizing restraint provided by gravity
force provides a factor of safety of at least (say) 03 or more on unfactored loads the
superstructure must be secur ely tied down to the substructure. This may be achieved by a
suitablearrangement of bolts (,:'bars with positive end anchorages or thedesign may incorporate
bearings with hold down restr.iinr. The small additional expense for provision of hold-down
restraints should be evaluated against the great expense of possible J oss of the whole bridge
struct.urefrom instability. Naturally the substructure and bearings must be designed for the
overturning and uplift effects mentioned above.
3.2 Critical Flood Levels &Velocities
It issuggested the following load case categories for low level bridges be investigated:
(a) Partial submergence of substructure
(b) Partial submergence of superstructure
(c: Overtopping of superstructure
(d) Deep submergence of suporstructure
Streamvelocities as well as frejuency, magnitude and duration of the respective submergence
calculated for various flood flows will determine the required scour protection of the
embankments for theroad approaches and abutments, Where road approach or bridge abutment
embankment are overtopped by flood waters special protection works are required.
4.1 Kerbs &Barriers
This Clause deals with some aspects of the choice of appropriate kerbs and barriers. The
requirements are sometimes contradicting, e.g. a grill type pedestrian or combined
traffic/pedestrian barrier isno; suitable for sites with substantial amounts of debris. yet it may be
required if the bridge is located intown and there isheavy pedestrian usage. The choice of the
appropriate kerb or barrier depends on circumstances.
Ifit is considered that kerbs are warranted, they should either be castellated (short sections of
kerb separated by full-depth gaps not exceeding 200 mm) or if continuous. provided with slots
to allow water to drain freeI', from the deck and to aid the manual removal of debris. Small
diameter drainage holes and scupper pipes areprone to clocking with debris. Consideration may
be given to capping the caste'lations with steel channel fenders to provide acontinuous tyre
rubbing strip. In this case the 200 romlimit on gaps between castellations does not apply.
4.2 Superstructure
It isdesirable to select aformof superstructure with ashallow depth. to minimize hydrodynamic
force. backwater and scour ei .ect particularly at the critical flood height when the bridge and
approaches are about to be overtopped.
9lm.P2ite decked bridges. ~:!singeither prestrxssed concrete or steel girders, have been
suc~s~f~Iy,_llSed for s!:!h.t!\$J 1:'~d.~ti1~~ prf~I>~Qi2r~9_(,'{)'J ~~rders have utilized 'inverted
~ and standard AtJ STRO\l)S .c U H,J""~; \!I ":,; :,, "kd girders have utilized rolled or
welded plate sections. These ~(;ction" allow .loodwaters to rise between the girders.
Slender steel girders may requi- eadditional midspan lateral bracing as strengthening to resist log
impacts against the bottom flange. If used, cross bracing should beorientated to avoid trapping
debris. For corrosion resistance, steel components must be detailed to avoid trapping ponds of
water after submergence.
Closed cell structures such as s.ngle and multicell steel or concrete box girders, composite steel
or concrete trough girder, multcelled decks formed from linked broad flange concrete girders.
vo.ded concrete slabs. and other voided concrete girders aregenerally considered unsuitable and
should only be used with grea: caution when subject to submergence.
The greater buoyancy forces acting on these closed cell structures may require the use of
significant hold-down restrain-s.
Experience has shown it isimpossible to hermetically seal concrete closed cell structures against
the ingress of water whether rhese structures are considered to be submerged or not. The
exception is those voided concrete structures using polystyrene void former which is left
permanently in place. Otherwise noisture enters the air filled internal voids through cracks
formed inthe surrounding cone; etebyeither temperature, shrinkage cracking or tearing of the
plastic concrete during curing. Thus thecross-section must be detailed to facilitate draining of
nay water trapped inpockets, tycically with25mmdiameter vertical drainage pipes placed at the
girder ends. Due tothe provision of these drainage pipes insuch structures thepossibility always
exists that theinternal voids wil. be filled completely during submergence. If the voids do not
empty again at the rate of flood recession (perhaps due to siltation blocking the drainage holes)
severe loads would be applied io the bridge fromwater trapped inside.
Even if the steel or concrete members of closed cell structures aremodified with large openings
to permit rapid filling and emptying, when submergence occurs, it is anticipated significant silt
and fine debris will be deposited inside when such submergence is frequent. This will have an
adverse effect on thedurability of the structure and may require significant future maintenance.
Note that access would therefore berequired inside theclosed cells for maintenance inspection
andworks. This cost could d-: tract fromany economic advantage of this form of construction.
All parts of concrete superstn ....tures subject to frequent flood submergence must be considered
to be 'in contact with fresh '.'ater' for calculation of required cover to prestressed and non-
stressed reinforcement. This may lead to slightly greater cover requirements for PSC girders
used inlow-level bridges, especially inpockets where silt may betrapped and remain damp after
A judgement must be made whether siltation due tosubmergence will occur frequently or only
rarelyintheli feof thebridge. For example, submergence ever fifty years of anintermediate-level
bridgemay be acceptable whereas submergence every second year of alow level bridge would
betotally unacceptable.
Steel trusses and suspended decks areconsidered unsuitable for lowor intermediate level bridges
asthese structures readily collect debris mats to agreater depth than solid section decks while
debris or floating objects may damage slender bracing or support components. Such
superstructures should only b}use for high-level bridges.
4.3 Bearings &Hold-down Hestraints
Generally, the size of bridge ~:.1anschosen for typical low-level bridges will permit the use of
elastomeric bearings without v.arranting use of the higher load capacity of more sophisticated
spherical, or pot typeber.rings. However, pot typebearings may besometimes appropriate
for intermediate-level bridges osthesebearings can be economically provided with hold-down
restraints. This may prove advantageous where high lateral loads must beresisted by submerged
bridges incurring reduced overturning stability.
It isusual to provide separate anchor bars. Typically 24 nun diameter galvanized holding down
bolts arespecified between eachP.S.C. plank oncomposite slabstructures whilemore substantial

anglebrackets may be specifie-, ito straddle each P.S.c.girder on composite decked structures.
Shear blocks or dowels connected between end diaphragms and abutments or piers will prevent
asubmerged superstructure from lateral displacement.
If elastomeric bearings areuseeI theholding-down bolts should besuitably de-bonded and anair
spaceleft above the heads oftP.~bolts, toallow thebearings t deform under liveload. Frictional
restraint against creep of elastomeric bearings is di minished during flood submergence due to
reduced bearing reactions fron. superstructure buoyancy: Under the influence of rotation from
hogging effects this creep usually moves the bearings towards the centre of the girder spans.
It4 Substructure
The foundations for piers and ~~'Iutmentsof all bridges crossing fast flowing waterways should
either bekeyed on to rock or cr.'t on piled footings. This avoids the possibility of undermining
of the base material under the f .undation footing pads by the formation of adjacent local scour
holes. Eddies also tend to wasp.out fill behind abutments. Local scour fromturbulence around
piers may be reduced by hydraulically shaping the pile caps and columns.
Inparticular, the piers and abetment structures of low-level bridges will be subject to agreater
risk ofundennining of the foundations by scour.
Where the substructure restrains thesuperstructure fromoverturning and uplift effects the piles
may require design for tension and uplift resistance. If driven piles are used they should be
driven well below local scour level to asufticient depth and sufficiently bard set to resist uplift.
Where vertical piles areplaced inclosely spaced groups account must betaken of the soil acting
asasolid block around the incividual piles. Spread footings or bored piles on rock should have
either asufficient socket length into rock or be provided with rock anchors.
Solid rather than framed piers may bechosen to provide an advantage of greater mass to resist
overturning effect. Framed piers also tend tocollect more debris. Solid circular or elliptical pier
columns could be used to avoid the horizontal 'lift' force effects generated on blade type piers
angied to the direction of stream flow.
Spill-through type abutments aregenerally preferred because of the smoother shaping effect of
thefront and side embankment batters inthestream flow. Portions of embankment washed out
can always be replaced after tilefloods recede, whereas damage tothe abutment structure itself
istobe avoided. These spill-through abutments must be adequately drained with weep-holes,
geofabrics and gravel drainage layers, and as well, the embankment batters protected against
Adequate drainage works areespecially critical for the stability of cantilever, cell (boxed) and
Reinforced Earth-type abutments subject to flood submergence. However theuseof Reinforced
Earth type abutments is not recommended where stream velocity is such that scour could
undermine thebase material or eddies could wash out theinfill. Abutment details should include
a sill drain behind the bearings if staining from water seepage over the front face of the
abutments is of concern.
Abutment approach slabs subject frequent submergence should comprise reinforced concrete
slabs laid on afree draining grovel base. Geofabrics should be used to prevent drainage layers
clogging with silt. The embankments adjacent to the abutment must be properly drained and
batter slopes reduced where possible to avoid instability effect with rapid draw-down offlood
waters. Internal granular lenses may be incorporated to assist in drainage after flood
submergence. Highly expansive clay fill must not be used under approach slabs to avoid flexing
orthe slabs after periods of flood submergence.
4.5 Batter Protection
Overtopping flow oflong duration at frequent interval is likely to cause failure of pavements as
well asscouring of embankments, especially adjacent tothebridge abutments. Streamvelocities
over embankments adjacent to the abutments are increased where the road approach
embankments direct flood waters towards the bridge opening. More substantial, but costly,
embankment batter protection may be required at the abutments than that used along the road
approaches, to protect the bridge structure from flood damage.
Protection works of embankments adjacent to abutments will be similar to those for high level
bridge and may include rock fill, rip-rap enclose din wire cages, concrete revetment mattresses
or rigid reinforced concrete slabs as well as sheet pile toe walls or spur dykes. However
abutment batter protection of low-Ievel bridges not only must be secured against stream bed
scour but must be secured aga.nst scour effect during overtopping,
Selection of the form of embankment protection against scour is governed by :
(a) Whether flow across the embankment is free or submerged.
(b) Under free flow conditions, whether plunging or surface flow occurs on the downstream
embankment batter.
(c) The relative cost of protection works against the degree of protection required.
Grassing of batters may beadequate when thevelocity of water flowover theembankment isless
than 1.5metres/sec. Generally this is the case when tailwater levels are not more than around
300mmbelow the downstream edgeof theroad formation when overtopping first occurs. Grass
batters may not be suitable where frequent overtopping occurs for aperiod of more than two or
three hours during floods. Grass batters are not suitable for shaded areas under the bridge
More elaborate protection works against scour are detailed similarly to the requirements for
causeways. It isessential all th~following protection works areeither taken below theanticipated
streambed general scour level or local scour holedepths using cut-off trenches, or are provided
with level aprons extending i-rtothe waterway to accommodate scour erosion. In particular.
batter protection works subject to flood submergence must also be anchored along their upper
edges to resist scour erosion during overtopping. Geotextile filter cloths are required beneath
either flexible or rigid forms of protection to avoid leaching of fine material underlying the
protective layer by piping, jets or eddies.
Rock fill or hand packed rock placed on batters is the oldest type of embankment protection.
uhough costly it provides aflexible treatment which is capable of deforming without loss of
integrity. Rock fill is now preferred as it is cheaper to place and accommodates embankment
displacement more easily than handpacked rock without sacrificing protection capacity against
scour. Rip-rap enclosed inwir..:cages also provides aflexible treatment and permits the use of
stone of small size. Inhighly corrosive conditions such as salt water, PVC coated wire is used
but if the stream carries abed load of boulders, which may damage the wire cages, this type of
protectionmay not be suitable. Siltation within the cages and the growth of aprotective cover
assists in stabilizin& the rip-rap.
Rigid reinforced concrete slabs aresuitable for extreme conditions such as avery low tail water
depth at overtopping, and highly erosive material at thetoeof theembankment. Care isrequired
in their design and construe.. :ion to resist cracking induced by temperature changes and
embankment deformations. N. well, their design must ensure that adequate openjoints or weep
holes are provided to relieve ~ydrostatic pressure and reduce uplift forces.
The selection of the type of protection to be used will depend on cost as well as the degree of
protection required The depth of cut-off'trenches and the length of apron, choice of geo-textiles
and drainage layers, whether more substantial protection is required behind or adjacent to the
abutment must be determined {oreach job.
Finally, design technique is sometimes used inflood plain crossings with long approaches. The
level of thebridge and the entire road approach embankment, is placed above (say) the 20 year
(ARl) serviceability flood level hut achosen section of the approach embankment is placed at
aslightly lower level. When overtopped by rising floodwater, this section of the embankment
is designed to be scoured away, the breach thus acting as a 'fuse-plug' and preventing
submergence of the adjacent bridge structure.
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