Civil Engineering

5 Component Parts Of A Bridge

The component parts of a bridge can be broadly categorized as follows:
a) Superstructure
b) Substructure
5 Component Parts of a Bridge

a) Superstructure

The upper part of a bridge consisting of structural system in the form of beams, girders, arches, suspension cable & truss etc. is called superstructure. The function of superstructure is to provide carriageway over which the traffic moves with safety.

b) Substructure

The lower part of a bridge consisting of structural system in the form of abutments, piers etc. along with their foundation, which support the superstructure is called substructure. The function of substructure is to support the super structure. Substructure of bridge consists of the following 5 components parts:

1. Approaches

The portions of roadway or railway on both the ends of a bridge are known as approaches. It is provided to enable the vehicle running on road way or railway at normal level to approach the bridge floor level.

2. Abutments

The end supports of bridge superstructure are called abutments. Abutments are provided to support the superstructure and to retain the earth pressure on their back.

3. Wing walls

The walls constructed on both sides of abutments to retain the earth of drainage bank and approaches, are called wing walls. Wing walls are provided to protect the drainage bank from erosion.

4. Piers

The intermediate supports of a bridge superstructure are known as piers. Piers are provided when the length of bridge is more. 
The functions of piers are:
  • To take and transfer the load from superstructure to the sub-soil through foundation.
  • To divide the length of bridge in to suitable number of spans.

5. Foundation 

The lower most part of the bridge substructure is called foundation. The function of foundation is to transfer the load from superstructure to the sub-soil through the foundation.
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