Pedestrian bridges bring tremendous value and beauty to a community and landscape. Choosing the right design for your project takes time and effort to gather all the information. In a previous article, we discussed the “Different Types of Bridges” available. 

This article will focus on providing you with pedestrian bridge design examples with photos, so you can better understand what design type is right for you. 

3 Pedestrian Bridge Design Examples

Once you know a pedestrian bridge is right for you, the next step is selecting your design. There are different structural elements that go with each bridge design, which makes it essential to have a clear understanding of the design criteria for  the decision-making process. 

Below are 3 of the most common pedestrian bridge designs with examples. We’ve also included a unique Areté Structures bridge design option. 

1. Truss Bridge

A truss bridge is a bridge with a load-bearing superstructure composed of a truss (a structure of connected elements). Truss bridges can be added to almost any landscape and range in size from 30 feet to 200 feet. 

If you are looking for a long-span bridge that can accommodate pedestrians, cyclists, or even light-weight vehicles, this is an excellent option for you. This is a pedestrian bridge design example of a truss bridge.

trail bridge by areté structures

2. Underslung Truss Bridge

The underslung truss bridge is unique to Areté Structures and is a type of truss design. Its design features the structural members under the decking. A handrail isn’t needed for structural purposes (but one can be added). It will range in size from 25 feet to 60 feet.

This is a pedestrian bridge design example of an underslung truss bridge. 

3. Beam Bridge

Beam bridges, also known as stringer bridges, have a simple structural form and are supported by a pier at each bridge’s end. A side rail or handrail isn’t needed for the structure design but can always be added for safety or aesthetic purposes. Beam bridge’s length is typically less than 30 feet. 

If you are looking for a short-span bridge that can accommodate pedestrians, cyclists, or lightweight vehicles, this is an excellent option for you. This is a pedestrian bridge design example of a beam bridge. 

beam bridge by areté structures

Pedestrian Bridge Projects 

If you’re unsure which design type is best for you, below are three examples of pedestrian bridges’ different uses. Each bridge photo is from a past Areté Structures bridge project and features the fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) material. 

FRP is a lightweight, durable, and corrosion-resistant material that will have a 100+ year lifespan. Learn more about FRP here

FRP Trail Bridge with Truss Design  

This is an example of an FPR trail bridge with a truss design. Read more about this project with the US Forest Service in the Bridger Teton National Forest here.

frp trail bridge with truss design

FRP Equestrian Bridge with Truss Bridge Design 

This is an example of an FRP equestrian bridge with a truss bridge design. Read more about this project with the Town of Woodside California, here

frp equestrian  bridge with truss bridge design

Simple Span FRP with I-Beam Design

This is an example of a simple span FRP bridge with a beam stringer design. Read more about this project with the Crater Lake National Park here.  

What You Need to Know About Basic Design Parameters

To design any bridge, you need identify your basic parameters including:

  • Length (span)
  • Width (deck width and overall width of bridge)
  • Loading requirement (e.g. pedestrian, equestrian, snowmobile, maintenance vehicles etc.) as well as snow load and wind load
  • Rail Height
  • Overall Truss Height
  • Decking Type
  • Railing height and type
  • Hardware type
  • Aesthetic requirements (color, decking type, etc.)

Engineers then take the design parameters to determine the configuration and materials needed. A couple of different guidelines can be used to design the bridge. Typically Arete Engineers uses the Allowable Stress Design (ASD) Method with a safety factor of 3 built in to ensure the safety of the bridge. AASHTO specifications for bridge designs can also be used to design a bridge. 

Truss Bridges

Truss bridges can be built in almost any type of landscape and can range in size from 30 feet to 200 feet. Their design can accommodate pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles. Truss bridges are an ideal solution for long-span bridges.

Beam or Stringer Bridges

Beam bridges, also known as girders or stringer bridges, are ideal for shorter-span bridges (typically <30 ft). A side railing/handrail isn’t structurally necessary for a beam bridge. You can add a rail for safety or aesthetic purposes. 

beam or stringer bridges by areté structures

Are you Ready to Get Started?

When you’re ready for the next step, you can contact the Areté Structures team for a bridge quote. At Areté Structures, we work with our clients from the planning process to assembly, so you can always count on us. Contact us here to get started or fill out our online quote form here