You are on page 1of 9

1

Preliminary Design of a Bowstring tied-arch deck


Pedro Pereira Clemente Andrade Gonalves

October 2012

ABSTRACT
The present study aims the Preliminary Design for a Bowstring tied-arch solution for a bridges
deck.
A research about the historical context and construction methods of tied-arch bridges was
initially conducted, and a data base with an extensive list of the constructed Bowstring bridges up to
date was assembled, with the compilation of the i) general layout information, ii) geometric
characteristics and iii) main steel / concrete quantities.
A Preliminary Study of several Bowstring deck solutions was performed, as alternative solutions
for a real highway double box-girder bridge deck erected by the balanced cantilever method, in order
to choose one of them, to perform the deck pre-design.
The pre-design of the deck was then performed, namely the deck slab, the steel girders, the
steel arch and the hanger sections, as well as the installed forces.
The required and relevant safety verifications were performed at Preliminary Study level,
supported by a tridimensional structural analysis model, using the software SAP2000.
To finish, main quantities and estimated cost were evaluated for the proposed deck, solution
and a comparison of these results with other Bowstring tied-arch bridges and with the erected
box-girder bridges was performed.
Conclusions about the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed solution were finally
discussed.

Keywords: tied-arch bridges, Bowstring bridge, hangers, bridge design, deck analysis, arch instability

1. INTRODUCTION

and constructed. Although less slender than


motorway bridges of the same type, this kind of

Bridges have always been considered


as works of art in the Structural Engineering
domain. Amongst them, bridges with upper
arch highlight for their first-class aesthetics.
Numerous

tied-arch

bridges

have

been

designed and built over the last 50 years,


many of

the Bowstring

type. The term

bowstring is the outcome of the actual


behaviour for this kind of balanced structures.
The

upper

arch

bow,

always

strongly

compressed, is internally balanced by the


tensioned deck, which works as a string.
From the conjugation of the two elements,

decks allow spans higher than 100 m, without


the need of intermediate supports, and with a
sufficient stiff deck. Several railway decks,
namely for the high-speed railway networks in
Europe, China and Korea and Japan have,
therefore, adopted Bowstring tied-arch decks.
Also in Portugal, this kind of bridges has
been built throughout the years. Maybe the
major example is the recently opened to traffic
railway crossing of the Sado River (Figure 1.2).
Its a unique structure, which combines two
railway lanes with a 480 m long continuous
composite box-girder deck, suspended by
three central arches of 160 m spans.

results the Bowstring tied-arch deck.


One of the forerunners of this solution,
Norwegian Engineer Per Tveit, proposed to
join

the

(characterized

Net
by

suspension
the

crossed

system
hangers

disposed in net arrangement). Since his first


built

bowstring bridge

deck

in Steinkjer,

Norway, in 1963, to the astonishingly light and


slender

Bolstadstraumen

Bridge,

60

km

northwest of Bergen, Norway (Figure 1.1),


numerous decks of this type were design and
built.

Figure 1.2 Bridge over Sado River in Portugal

In the highway bridges domain several


recent structures were recent completed, for
small overpasses spans, to long span highway
river crossings. Two recent examples consist
of the Depot Street Bridge, concluded in the
USA in 2006, for crossing the Rogue River

[1]

and the Pentele Bridge, concluded in Hungary


in 2007, for crossing the Danube River by the
new M8 Highway

[2]

The first one presents a reinforced concrete


Figure 1.1 Bolstadstraumen Bridge in Norway

deck and arch, with lateral inclined Net


suspension and a 93 m span, as the second

Similarly, in the railway bridges domain,

has an orthotropic deck slab and a steel arch,

Bowstring tied-arch bridges have several

with lateral suspension and a 308 m span,

advantages and therefore have been design

which evidence the potentialities of this kind of

structural solutions for medium spans, as for

slenderness, the ach height or hanger steel

spans longer than 300 m.

weight.
The collected data allowed acquiring the
know-how to concentrate the information in

2. OBJECTIVES

some charts that display some relations


between bridge spans, arch heights, function,

The main purposes identified for this


study, in order to carry out a Preliminary
Design of a Bowstring tied-arch bridge deck,

deck steel and concrete weight, aiming to


obtain same state-of-the-art rules for the
design of a Bowstring tied-arch deck.

Development of a data base including


the

Bowstring

tied-arch

bridges

worldwide;

Preliminary study of multiple structural


solutions for this kind of construction,

Arch height [m]

were the following:

65
60
55
50
45
40
35
30
25
20
15
10
5
0

Motorway
Railway
High-speed Railway
Motorway/Railway
Motorway/Light
Railway
0

50

100

actions,

according

to

the

Eurocodes;

estimated cost for the proposed solution,


and compare these results with the
structure

and

other

Bowstring tied-arch bridges; and

Conclusion

300

350

The results of Figure 3.1 enables to


conclude that there is an increasing arch

Obtain the main deck quantities and its

constructed

250

span length

Study of the deck behavior for the


design

200

Figure 3.1 Relation between the arch height and

elements;

150

Span [m]

and pre-design of the main structural

assessment

height and approximately linear with the span,


and that it doesnt matter in a significantly way,
if it concerns to a highway or railway bridge. It
also shows that the higher stiffness of the
deck, which is usually required in railway

resuming

advantages and disadvantages of the


proposed deck solution.

bridges, is, in Bowstring decks, achieved


without raising up the arch, but rising the
stiffness of the deck slab, by the increasing the
steel used on hangers, arch sections and deck

3. BOWSTRING BRIDGES
AROUND THE WORLD
An

extensive

search

has

been

conducted in order to characterized every kind


of Bowstring tied-arch bridges that have been
built all over the years, and to built a data base
with

extensive

technical

and

Total Quantity of steel/m2


of deck slab [kg/m2]

girders.
4500
Motorway

4000
3500

Railway

3000
2500

High-speed Railway

2000
1500

Motorway/Railway

1000
Motorway/Light
Railway

500
0
0

50

100 150 200 250 300 350

Span [m]

geometric

information, such as the main span, the deck

Figure 3.2 Relation between the total amount of


2

steel by m of deck slab, and the span

Observing the chart that displays the

4.1. GRAPHIC STUDY

ratio of the total among of steel used by m of


deck slab (Figure 3.2), the quantities of steel
used

in

Bowstring

solution

At the beginning of the Preliminary

grows

Study, some sketches were drawn to image

approximately in a linear way with the span,

some of the possible ways to raise a Bowstring

but it is not independent of the bridge use,

tied-arch deck. After analyzing which ones

since highway decks have, in general, less

were viable and physically possible, there was

steel than railway and road/railway decks with

one which imposed itself for its innovation and

the same span.

challenging design (Figure 4.1).

4. PRELIMINARY STUDY
The Preliminary Study was based on a
constructed continuous pre-stressed concrete
box-girder deck solution with variable height,
named Bridge over the Sorraia River, in
Portugal, which is part of the A13 highway.

Figure 4.1 Sketches for the proposed solution

This bridge consists in two separate decks,


with three spans (75 m + 120 m + 75 m) and a

Having

the

layout

defined,

it

was

decided to choose a composite steel-concrete

total length of 270 m.


All the studies are planned to substitute

deck, with a reinforced concrete deck slab,

the main span of 120 m, with a Bowstring with

crosswise steel girder attached on a central

a single deck solution, extending the deck of

longitudinal steel tube and lateral box-girder

the side viaducts to the transition piers.

beams, and a steel arch made of a tube with

The decks cross section is composed


by four traffic lanes with 3.75 m each; 3.0 m

high diameter and thickness, with interior


diaphragms.

and 1.0 m for the roadsides, right and left


respectively; sidewalks 1.05 m wide; curbs;
safety guards; fascia beams and drainage

4.2. PRE-DESIGN

system.
Some of these elements were modified

Before performing the safety standard

by the 3D geometry of the hangers in order to

verifications (Serviceability Limit State and

accomplish some regulations, and adopting

Ultimate Limit State), it was necessary to admit

one deck instead of two, like adopting a New

dimensions for the deck elements (deck slab,

Jersey

longitudinal and transversal beams, arch and

traffic

reservation.

separator

for

the

central

hangers).
The deck slab 30 cm thick was defined
according to the structural behaviour, use of
the bridge, deck materials and deck width.

For the main longitudinal beam it was

The arch height and the hangers were

used the same tube section of the arch, a CHS

designed simultaneously due to the fulfilment

(Circular Hollow Section) with D = 1250 mm

of the 5.0 m minimum required gabarit over the

and t = 25 mm, for aesthetic reasons mainly,

sidewalks kerb. Since there was a maximum

and two secondary longitudinal box-girders

height (1/4 of the span) defined by the study of

beams were set on both cantilever tips, to stiff

other Bowstring cases, 30 m high was the

the grid steel structure and better redistribute

chosen solution. From that, several designs

the hangers forces through the deck.

were made for the hangers geometry, leading


to an inclined Net solution of Figure 4.4.

Figure 4.4 Geometry of the hangers

4.3. MATERIALS AND ACTIONS


Figure 4.2 Transversal girders cross-section

The
The transversal beams were base on
important
Exposicin

works
in

like

the

Valencia

Puente
or

de

Pont

la
de

lObservatoire in Lige (Figure 4.3), from the


famous architect Santiago Calatrava, leading
to a maximum and minimum cross-section
presented on Figure 4.2.

materials

adopted

were

the

concrete C35/45 for the deck slab; steel


reinforcement
S420 NH/NHL
S460 NH/NHL

bars
[3]
[3]

A500;

steel

grade

for all deck girders and grade


for the arch; and steel S355

or S460 for the hangers.


For every step of the design, the actions
(dead loads, hangers installed forces, live
loads and fatigue) were considered. With all
the permanent actions in play, it is able to
verify the ULS

[4]

and fatigue

[5]

, as well as the

ULS and stability of the arch.

5. SAFETY VERIFICATIONS
Figure 4.3 Pont de lObservatoire in Belgium

The chosen cross-section for the arch,


the same as the main longitudinal beam, was a
CHS (D = 2500 mm and t = 80 mm) since its
going to be heavily compressed and subjected
to high bending moments in every direction.

To determine the required area of


reinforcement in the concrete deck slab, the
shell bending moments were obtained by with
a 3D finite beam/shell elements analysis
model. The longitudinal slab cracking was
relevant to the slab behaviour, and a fictitious

modulus of elasticity was determined based on


the

reinforcing

thickness.

The

bars

rate

cracking

and

A computation procedure was performed

the

slab

with a group of matrixes to relate the influence

thickness

was

of each hanger on the others (Table 5.1). This

obtained and is within the standard limits.

allowed finding the tensioning forces (defined

Since they arent subjected to highly

as the axial displacements for the hydraulic

efforts and the main role is the desirable

jacks) needed to apply on each of the hangers.

behaviour of the deck slab, for the beams,


longitudinal and transversal, safety checks
were performed using simple calculations to
obtain

the

resisting

bending

5.2. ARCH

moment,

considering in both cases a composite cross-

When subjected to bending and axial


force, its linearly checked is according to,

section (due to the benefits of the deck slab).

(5.1)

5.1. HANGERS
A major challenge comes out when
To obtain the cross-section area for the
hangers the rules regarding the SLS

[4]

were

taking into consideration. It was stated that the

dealing with the stability of the arch, since the


expression used for the safety check should
be:

hangers cannot be compressed (namely for


(5.2)

the several possible patterns of the live load


action),

and

imposed

as

well

that

the

displacements along the slab cant be too high


(5.3)

(below 200 mm).


Table 5.1 Axial loads on the hangers
Nperm

Nsob
ten

sob+

sob-

-499
208
753
1148
1394
1512
1536
1513
1509
1618
1977
1897
1126
882
917
1057
1192
1241
1122
761
143
-633
-1207

967
645
868
501
227
194
130
-12
288
-97
-347
-631
-603
192
739
256
-92
-357
-111
-83
296
963
1344

371
227
191
300
362
387
385
362
316
261
273
503
319
303
319
326
331
334
331
309
258
173
61

[kN]
-393
839
-217
1080
-111
1812
-56
1949
-29
1983
-37
2093
-40
2051
-26
1863
-9
2113
-14
1781
-101
1902
-159
1769
-59
841
-24
1377
-53
1975
-52
1639
-40
1431
-29
1218
-24
1341
-35
986
-59
697
-84
503
-96
198

Hanger

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23

Nk+

cp

Nk-

NRd

75
636
1509
1593
1592
1669
1625
1474
1787
1506
1528
1107
464
1050
1603
1261
1060
855
987
643
380
246
41

2208
2208
2208
2208
2208
2208
2208
2208
2208
2208
2208
2208
2208
2208
2208
2208
1773
1773
1773
1773
1773
1773
1773

1369
1128
396
259
225
115
157
345
95
426
306
439
1367
830
233
569
342
555
432
787
1076
1270
1575

The interaction factors, the resisting


moments and axial loading, and the reduction
coefficient due to buckling are calculated
according with the EC3 part 1

[3]

. But, to

obtain the buckling coefficients was necessary


to determine the critic load of the structure,
which was performed loading of the structure
(to

obtain

the

normalized

slenderness),

meaning the load that will lead to the first deck


instability.

Verifying the three safety checks, it is


possible to notice that none of them meet the
desirable safety requirements:

st

Figure 5.1 1 mode of the arch buckling

group

of

Belgian

[6]

engineers

To surpass this problem, the answer

proposed a simple method to obtain that load.

goes through modifying the arch cross-section,

Using a 3D structural model as close as

by increasing its diameter to the minimum of

possible to the real bridge, well apply a live

3000 mm. Then the same calculation made so

loading to the deck slab (defined as 5kN/m ,


corresponding to LM4

[7]

), running a buckling

far, has to be redone, ensuring the safety of


the arch.

analysis to achieve a factor , that will


reproduce the number of times which the
loading pattern needs to increase to cause the
st

6. QUANTITIES AND

1 mode of instability (Figure 5.1).

ESTIMATED BUDGET

That loading pattern is defined by the


Designer, and can correspond to the whole

The main quantities were evaluated. The

deck slab area loaded, or just half of it (Figure


[8]

amount of concrete and steel (bars, sections

5.2) .

and pre-stressing), was directly obtained from


the total volume of the deck slab in m
(concrete),

and

steel

plates

and

tubes

considering (s = 78kN/m ). The results are


presented in Table 6.1, Figure 6.1 and Table
6.2.
The estimated budget was based on two
actual budgets: one from the case study, the
other from a general Bowstring tied-arch
Figure 5.2 Overloading patterns

bridge. On them its possible to retrieve


information about the unitary cost for the

Table 5.2 factors and respective critic loads


Position

4,594

4,969

5,164

5,194

4,86

5,118

4,966

NEd [kN]

-65852

-61021

-56804

-57325

-60722

-57148

-60135

NFE,el [kN]

302526

303215

293333

297745

295111

292482

298632

Note that the smallest factor doesnt


exactly correspond to the smallest critic load
as shown in Table 5.2.

concrete C35/45 and for the different kind and


range of steels.
Table 6.1 Volume of concrete
Gross area [mm2]
7830000

Volume

Weight

[m3/m]

[m3]

[kN/m3]

[kN]

[ton]

7,83

916

25

22892

2336

(regardless the unsuccessful safety checks of


113 (5%)

190 (8%)

684 (28%)

Steel bars

the arch) and maybe the best one in some

Longitudinal girders

cases.

Transversal girders

586 (24%)

Arch height [m]

843 (35%)
Arch

Hangers

Total = 2416 ton

Figure 6.1 Quantities of steel in ton

65
60
55
50
45
40
35
30
25
20
15
10
5
0

Table 6.2 Proposed solution estimated budget

Motorway
Railway
High-speed
Railway
Motorway/Railway
Motorway/Light
Railway
Proposed Solution
0

50

100

150

200

250

300

350

Span [m]
Uni

Quantity

Concrete C35/45

m3

916

Steel bars A500

kg

Profiles S420 NH/NLH

Uni. Cost

Total
137.354,48

Figure 7.1 Relation between the arch height and

190252

1,00

190.252,34

span length (with solution proposed)

kg

1429170

5,00

7.145.848,36

Profiles S460 NH/NLH

kg

683652

6,00

4.101.914,34

Hangers S355

kg

83586

10,00

835.858,89

Hangers S460

kg

29122

15,00

436.829,11
12.848.057,52

Total Cost = 4100 /m

The

case

study

budget

is

known

rounded up as 2.000.000 , with a total cost


approximately equal to 577 /m

Total Quantity of steel/m2


of deck slab [kg/m2]

150,00

4500
Motorway

4000
3500

Railway

3000
High-speed Railway

2500
2000

Motorway/Railway

1500
1000

Motorway/Light
Railway

500

Proposed Solution

0
0

50

100 150 200 250 300 350

Span [m]

(including

equipment and labor). Comparing to the value

Figure 7.2 Relation between the quantity of total

obtained for the proposed Bowstring solution,

steel by m of deck slab and span (with proposed

its around 7 times lower. It was expected to

solution)

exceed it, but not by so much. There are some


solutions that could resolve this matter:

Bowstring design with a central arch with


central suspension, or two lateral arches
with lateral suspension;

Both charts show us that the design is


inside the reasonable values: the height of the
arch at the highest level, the quantity of steel
used in a high level, close to the amount used
in railway bridges with similar spans.

Reduction of the class of the steel used


in the deck girders;

Reduction of the deck slab thickness.

7. CONCLUSIONS

8. REFERENCES
[1]

Bridgehunter.com | Depot Street Bridge, available in:


http://bridgehunter.com/or/jackson/depot-street/
[23/11/201]

Although its obvious the beauty of this


kind of solutions, the crossed arch wasnt the

[2]

Hajs, B., Halsz, L., Kara, K., Magyari, L.,


Rasztik, R., Sitku, L., Tth, E., Trger, H. (2008)
Bridges in Hungary From the Roman heritage

best decision for this case. Nonetheless, it was

until todays giants, Budapest: Katalin Kara e

a good choice to show that is a viable solution

Ern Tth Deng (translated by gnes Koroknai

Szkely)
[3]

CEN: European Committee for Standardization.


(2005). Eurocode 3 - Design of steel structures Part 1-1: General rules and rules for buildings
(version consulted Eurocdigo 3 Projecto de
estruturas de ao Parte 1-1: Regras gerais e
regras para edifcios) - prEN 1993-1-1, Lisboa:
LNEC

[4]

CEN: European Committee for Standardization.


(2005). Eurocode 3 - Design of steel structures Part 1-11: Design of structures with tension
components - prEN 1993-1-11

[5]

CEN: European Committee for Standardization.


(2005). Eurocode 3 - Design of steel structures Part 1-9: Fatigue (version consulted Eurocdigo
3 Projecto de estruturas de ao Parte 1-9:
Fadiga) - prEN 1993-1-9, Lisboa: LNEC

[6]

Outtier, A., De Backer, H., Schotte, K., Stael, D.,


Van Bogaert, P., (2010) Design methods for
buckling of steel tied arch bridges, LSIECU

[7]

CEN: European Committee for Standardization.


(2003). Eurocode 1 - Actions on structures - Part
2: Traffic loads on bridges - EN 1991-2:2003,
Brussels, Belgium: CEN

[8]

Tveit, P. (2006) An Introduction to the Network Arch,


available
[13/11/2011]

in:

http://home.uia.no/pert/backup/