Development of Abutment Design Standards for Local Bridge Designs Development of Abutment Design Standards for Local Bridge Designs Development of Abutment Design Standards for Local Bridge Designs Development of Abutment Design Standards for Local Bridge Designs

Research Project


Development of Abutment Design Standards for Local Bridge Designs


Principal investigators: Wayne Klaiber, 515-294-8763, (project list)

Co-principal investigators:

Project status


Start date: 12/01/02
End date: 08/31/03



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Sponsor(s): Iowa Department of Transportation

About the research


Several superstructure design methodologies have been developed for low volume road bridges by the Iowa State University Bridge Engineering Center. However, to date no standard abutment designs have been developed. Thus, there was a need to establish an easy to use design methodology in addition to generating generic abutment standards and other design aids for the more common substructure systems used in Iowa. The final report for this project consists of three volumes. The first volume summarizes the research completed in this project. A survey of the Iowa County Engineers was conducted from which it was determined that while most counties use similar types of abutments, only 17 percent use some type of standard abutment designs or plans. A literature review revealed several possible alternative abutment systems for future use on low volume road bridges in addition to two separate substructure lateral load analysis methods. These consisted of a linear and a non-linear method. The linear analysis method was used for this project due to its relative simplicity and the relative accuracy of the maximum pile moment when compared to values obtained from the more complex non-linear analysis method. The resulting design methodology was developed for single span stub abutments supported on steel or timber piles with a bridge span length ranging from 20 to 90 ft and roadway widths of 24 and 30 ft. However, other roadway widths can be designed using the foundation design template provided. The backwall height is limited to a range of 6 to 12 ft, and the soil type is classified as cohesive or cohesionless. The design methodology was developed using the guidelines specified by the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials Standard Specifications, the Iowa Department of Transportation Bridge Design Manual, and the National Design Specifications for Wood Construction. The second volume introduces and outlines the use of the various design aids developed for this project. Charts for determining dead and live gravity loads based on the roadway width, span length, and superstructure type are provided. A foundation design template was developed in which the engineer can check a substructure design by inputting basic bridge site information. Tables published by the Iowa Department of Transportation that provide values for estimating pile friction and end bearing for different combinations of soils and pile types are also included. Generic standard abutment plans were developed for which the engineer can provide necessary bridge site information in the spaces provided. These tools enable engineers to design and detail county bridge substructures more efficiently. The third volume provides two sets of calculations that demonstrate the application of the substructure design methodology developed in this project. These calculations also verify the accuracy of the foundation design template. The printouts from the foundation design template are provided at the end of each example. Also several tables provide various foundation details for a pre-cast double tee superstructure with different combinations of soil type, backwall height, and pile type.

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