Every manufacturer must follow pedestrian bridge standards when designing and building a pedestrian bridge. These standards are necessary to ensure the community’s safety and for everyone using the bridge. While every state in the United States has its own standards, they all typically include the same (or similar) components. 

This article will educate you on why certain standards are necessary, and it contains the bridge specifications our team follows at Areté Structures. 

Pedestrian Bridge Standards Explained 

Whenever we walk over a bridge, we aren’t thinking about if it’s safe most of the time. Instead, there’s an assumption that the bridge is secure to cross, which is why all manufacturers must follow their state’s pedestrian bridge standards (to ensure everyone’s safety). The most common design standard for FRP bridges is the “AASHTO FRP Pedestrian Bridge Design Guide.“ 

Below is an explanation of why certain information is necessary for the pedestrian bridge standards document. Please note that this isn’t a comprehensive list, and sections may be missing. Make sure to check with your state’s official requirements for your bridge standards. 

General Requirements 

This section aims to explain the requirements for the design and construction process for a typical pedestrian bridge. 

General Features of Design 

The purpose of this section is to explain how the manufacturer takes the measurements and designs bridge components. This includes the span and width of the bridge, the bridge system type, member components, and the camber.

Engineering (Loading) Requirements 

The bridge’s structural design must follow specific standards, engineering practices, and principles. This can include:

  • Allowable Stress Design Approach
  • Live load 
  • Service live load
  • Seismic load
  • Snow load
  • Vehicle load
  • Wind load

Performance Requirements 

It should include the service life, preventive maintenance with inspections, and the overall bridge appearance.

Geometry and Clearances 

The bridge’s anticipated usage should follow the ADA Standards for Accessible Design guidelines, including profile and grade, ramps, and overall physical requirements.

Additional considerations include:

  • Vertical clearances
  • Horizontal clearances 

Railing Requirements 

This section explains how to design the railings and the standards that the manufacturer needs to follow. 

Decking Requirements 

It will explain the type of acceptable decking materials.


It explains that the schematic drawings and structural calculations will need to be approved by a professional engineer before proceeding forward. 

Areté Structures’ FRP Bridge Specifications 

Review our detailed FRP Bridge Specifications here. This document is for a fully engineered clear span bridge of fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composite construction. It shall be regarded as minimum standards for design and construction at Areté Structures.

It’s important to note that this article includes the pedestrian bridge standards that our team currently follows. If you have specific questions, please contact us.  

Learn More About Areté Structures 

At Areté Structures, our team will help guide your project from conception to completion. In addition, we’ll work with our sister company, Areté Engineers, for engineering services regarding design and construction management, when needed.

Contact us to learn more about our bridge services.