Overview of Bridge Structure Design, Bridge Design Plans and Drawings

Bridge plans are most commonly used as supplements to the actual construction plans. The basic types of sheets in a set of bridge plans involve General plans, Notes, Structural drawings, Contractor plans and quantity estimates. This article will briefly detail all of the above.

General Plan

It contains a plan view, which is the bridge seen from the top and an elevation view, which is the bridge seen from the sideways.

The plan view provides:

• Precise location of the bridge

• Degree of skew

• Centerlines for the roadway, bridge structure and bearing

• Lengths of individual spans and the whole bridge

• Widths of sidewalks & parapets

• Hurdles the bridge is intended to cross

The elevation view provides:

• Actual and estimated ground lines

• Elevations of highways, water pipelines and railroads, etc to be traversed

• Placements of fixed & expansion bearings

The General Notes which is part of the General Plan includes information that is contract specific.

Quantity Estimates

The Quantity estimation sheet contains tabulation of the quantities of materials to be used for each section of the proposed bridge.

Structural Drawings

Bridge structure drawings contain railing details, pile splicing methods, bearing assembly details, etc. Generating new drawings with these features is time-consuming and repetitive process.

Contractor Plans

In addition to the general bridge plans, some plans are provided by the Contractor. These plans include the Contractor’s proposed method of meeting specific design requirements and provisions. In all cases, Contractor plans are required to be submitted and approved by Engineer of Record (EOR).

Below mentioned items require approval by the EOR:

• Structural shop drawings for fabrication and installation

• Deck pour sequence

• Traffic control plan

• Erosion prevention plan

Any work started prior to approval is done at the risk of the Contractor. The Contractor plans are approved for design features only.

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