Bridge Abutments

Bridge abutment foundations and retaining walls.

Almost all bridges incorporate some form of abutment structure that supports the bridge deck, incorporates a run-on run-off slab, partially or fully retains the ground behind the abutment and supports the approach embankment.  The function of the abutment generally requires the provision of resistance to significant and variable loads, durable ground retention capability and limited settlement and deflections that are compatible with long term bridge construction and performance.     

Given the critical function of bridges and the potentially catastrophic nature of any failure or loss of functionality, bridge abutments are generally designed, specified and constructed to high standards with generous Factors of Safety, high levels of durability and very tight deflection/settlement tolerances. In order to evaluate these factors sufficiently, thorough and detailed geotechnical investigation of the ground conditions is required, followed by the careful selection of appropriate foundation and ground retention systems and detailed analysis, design and specification of the proposed solution. In particular, it is essential that the selected foundation, retaining wall and ground improvement solutions are compatible with the overall construction and performance of the final structure.

The CMW design team combine significant experience in the design and performance monitoring of bridge abutment projects with robust ground modelling capability and sophisticated soil-structure analysis to ensure effective and efficient solutions are adopted.  In particular, our experience in the full range of geotechnical investigation, deep and shallow foundation options, ground improvement systems, ground retention and geotechnical analysis facilitate an effective abutment design process. 

The bridge design process needs to be completed in close communication with the project structural engineer to ensure optimum solutions are developed and adopted that meet the project objectives with adequate risk management in place.

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