Cement Civil Concrete Design

What Is Bridge Pier | Type of Bridge Pier

What Is Bridge Pier _ Type of Bridge Pier

Introduction of Bridge

Human beings have been constructing bridges for about four thousand years.

The oldest and still existing bridge in the world is perhaps the Zhaozhou Bridge in Hebei Province in China, originally constructed approximately in A.D. 600.

However, bridge design and construction then may not be considered bridge engineering practice by today’s definition. Instead, work was done based more on experience as opposed to quantitative planning as done now.

Bridge engineering today uses calculus-based analysis and detailed planning.

Materials used in bridge construction have also changed noticeably through a good number of years, from mainly natural materials such as stones and wood than to mainly man-made materials such as steel and Portland cement concrete today.

Due to great improvement in the strength and production quality control of these materials, bridge components have become smaller, thinner, skinnier, and lighter to reduce self-weight and be more economical.

In 1866 Ways and Koenen in Germany conducted a series of tests on reinforced concrete beams (Heins and Lawrie, 1984), which started the era of concrete for bridge construction.

More tests and research work were done in the following decades. The first bridge using reinforced concrete in the world was credited to Monier in 1867 (Heins and Lawrie, 1984).

The first bridges using steel are believed to be constructed in the United Kingdom and the United States in the 1880s.

These pioneering projects began what is known today as modern bridge engineering. Another important aspect characterizing modem bridge engineering is the tools used to perform quantitative modeling and planning.

They include calculus and calculus-based mechanics, acknowledged as the foundation of modem bridge engineering as practiced today.

This knowledge was established in the seventeenth century.

With the new materials and advanced analysis tools, the fast development of modem bridge engineering had its technical strength.

The fuel for substantial developments of bridge engineering was the need or desire for economic development, For example, today’s highway bridge technology in the United States is largely a result of the rapid development of the interstate highway system in the 1950s and 1960s after World War II.

As a product, a comprehensive highway system has been established, consisting of about 50,000 miles of roadways and about 600,000 bridges.

It is also interesting to mention that a number of developing countries are currently experiencing a similar “boom” in their surface transportation systems.

This has become the driving force for bridge engineering development in those parts of the world.

Also, read: Difference Between Flyover and Bridge | What Is Flyover | What Is Bridge

Type of Bridge

Bridges by Structure

Arch Bridges

Beam Bridges

Truss Bridges

Cantilever Bridges

Tied Arch Bridges

Suspension Bridges

Cable-Stayed Bridges

Fixed or Moveable Types

Fixed Bridges

Temporary Bridges

Moveable Bridges

Pedestrian Bridges

Types by Use

Pedestrian Bridges

Double-decked Bridges

Train Bridges

Pipeline Bridges


Commercial Bridges

Types by Materials

Natural Materials



Concrete and Steel

Advanced Materials

Fictional and Mythical Bridges

Also, read: Difference Between Bridge and Culvert | What Is Bridge | What Is Culvert

Parts of Bridge Structures

Major Parts of Bridge Structures as below





Girder or Beam

Substructure Components

Bridge Tower

Pier Cap


Pile Cap and Piles

Bridge Anchor

Suspension Cable

What is Pier? 

This Piers provide vertical supports for spans at intermediate of different points and perform both main functions: transferring vertical superstructure loads to the foundations and resisting horizontal forces acting on this bridge.

Although piers are designed to resist vertical loads, it is becoming common to design piers into resisting high lateral loads caused by seismic events.

Even in some low seismic areas, designers are paying more attention to this ductility aspect of the design.

These Piers are predominantly constructed using reinforced concrete.

This Steel, to a lesser degree, is also used for piers.

The Steel tubes filled with concrete columns have gained more attention recently.

The piers or columns for conventional bridges, such as grade separations, overcrossing, overheads, underpasses, and simple river crossings.

Reinforced concrete columns will be discussed in detail, while steel and composite columns will be briefly discussed.

Substructures for arch, suspension, segmental, cable-stayed, and movable bridges are excluded from the substructures for some of these special types of bridges.

Also, read: What is Plum Concrete | Application | Mix Design | Methodology

Types of Bridge Piers

Solid Piers

Solid Masonry Piers

brick masonry pier

Solid Masonry Piers

Solid Reinforced Concrete Piers

Solid Reinforced Concrete Piers

Solid Reinforced Concrete Piers

Open Pier

Cylindrical Piers

Column Piers

Column Pier

Column Piers or Column Bent

Multi Coulmn

Column Piers or Column Bent

Pile Pier or Pile Bents

Pile Pier

Pile Pier or Pile Bents

Trestle Pier or Trestle Bent


Trestle Pier or Trestle Bent

Masonry Piers

Brick Masonry Pier

Masonry Piers

Mass Concrete Piers

Mass concrete

Mass Concrete Piers

Reinforced and Prestressed Concrete Piers

precast Pier

Reinforced and Prestressed Concrete Piers

Fixed Piers

Fixed Pier

Fixed Piers

Hammerhead or Cantilevered Piers

Hammerhead or Cantilevered Piers

Hammerhead or Cantilevered Piers

Special Shaped Bent

Special Shaped Bent

V-Shaped Concrete Pier

V-Shaped Concrete Pier

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