Recessed Floating Pier Caps for Highway Bridges

Report No: 73-R5

Published in 1973

About the report:

Presented are alternate designs for two existing bridges in Virginia - one with steel beams and the other with prestressed concrete beams - whereby the pier caps are recessed within the depth of the longitudinal beams. The purpose of this recession is to provide cleaner aesthetic lines for these bridges. At the same time, the recessed caps (transverse girders) are designed to "float'' or slide on TFE bearings fixed to the tops of the piers. This arrangement allows the number of bearings needed to be greatly reduced. Design calculations and drawings prepared for each bridge permit an economic comparison to be made between the original designs and the modified designs. The conclusion reached is that the alternate design is completely feasible for the steel bridge; but for the concrete bridge, the alternate design would be more expensive.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


  • William Zuk

Last updated: February 6, 2024

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