AXIS ENGINEER Analysis and Design of an Unusual Pedestrian Bridge
Analysis and Design of an
Unusual Pedestrian
Bridge
C V E N 7 5 0 F I N I T E E L E M E N T
A P P L I C A T I O N S
Z a c h r y D e p t o f
C i v i l E n g i n e e r i n g
T e x a s A & M U n i v e r s i t y
3 / 3 1 / 2 0 1 4
Group # 6
The analysis and design of an unusual pedestrian bridge to connect
the clients driveway to the other side of the gorge where the tree
house is located.
AXIS ENGINEERS Analysis and Design of an Unusual Pedestrian Bridge
Group Members:
Abhinav Prashant Mohanakrishnan
Insiyah Juzer Lightwala
Steven Chee
Xin Zhou
Honor Statement:
On my honor, as an Aggie, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid on this academic
work.
Abhinav Prashant Mohanakrishnan Insiyah Juzer Lightwala
Steven Chee Xin Zhou
AXIS ENGINEERS Analysis and Design of an Unusual Pedestrian Bridge
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Executive Summary 1
Problem Description 1
What is Unusual? 3
Construction Material 3
Type of Bridge 3
Tools for Design 3
Preliminary Design 3
Bridge Model 4
Modelling the Bridge on SAP2000 4
Loads on a Bridge 5
Member Sizing 5
Cost Estimate 5
Construction Timeline 6
Analysis of the Bridge 7
Appendix AWind Load Vibration 8
Appendix BNewfoundland Puppy Analysis 10
Submittal To The Architectural Control Committee 11
Bibliography 12
AXIS ENGINEERS Analysis and Design of an Unusual Pedestrian Bridge
LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1: Circular Pedestrian Bridge in Lujiazui, China 2
Figure 2: Pythonbrug Bridge in Amsterdam 2
Figure 3: Plan and Elevation of the Bridge 4
Figure 4: Site Layout 4
Figure 5:3D Model of the Bridge 5
Figure 6: Newfoundland Puppy 11
AXIS ENGINEERS Analysis and Design of an Unusual Pedestrian Bridge
LIST OF TABLES
Table 1: Dimension of the Bridge 3
Table 2: Calculation of Weight of Structure 6
Table 3: Calculation of Total Cost of the Structure 6
Table 4: Joint Displacements due to load case 1 7
Table 5: Joint Displacements due to load case 2 7
Table 6: Modal Periods and Frequencies 9
Table 7: Modal Participating Mass Ratios 10

AXIS ENGINEERS Analysis and Design of an Unusual Pedestrian Bridge
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Axis Engineers were approach by an undisclosed client in Galveston to plan, analyze, design and
construct a pedestrian bridge connecting her residence to the parking space across the gorge. The client wanted
to have an aesthetically pleasing structure that is convenient for her family members and also wanted it to be
structurally sound. The primary purpose of the unusual bridge was to connect her driveway (where cars are
parked) to the other side of the property (where the 1200 square foot tree house residence is located).
PROBLEM DESCRIPTION
This project delves into the world of bridge design with the help of finite element software packages. It
involves the selection of most appropriate software package to facilitate the design process smoothly and its
application. The primary concerns for the design were
Minimum center span = 50 feet (no piers may be placed in this span).
Total span across gorge= 150 feet (there is a 40 foot drop in the 70 feet between the north bank and the
north edge of the deep gorge & a 60 foot drop in the 30 feet between the south bank and the south edge
of the deep gorge) .
The ground under the outside spans is too steep to hold water.
Given the disaster of the Tacoma Bridge, resonance due to a set of pedestrians walking in harmony was
an important factor.
The client lives with two puppies and they are expected to run across the bridge to meet her when she
drives up. Therefore the bridge had to be dog friendly.
SELECTION OF BRIDGE
The first step in the project was the determination of a precise type of bridge that would serve all
purposes for the owner. There were a number of unusual bridges to base our design on but due to cost and
constructability issues, only two bridges made the final cut. They were the Circular Pedestrian Bridge in Lujiazui,
China and The Pythonbrug Bridge in Amsterdam. The circular bridge required a lot of space and its geometry
was not compatible. Also the primary purpose of the bridge was to connect the driveway to the tree house.
Though a circular bridge would be considered unusual, it unnecessarily complicates the design and extends the
construction period. Since the client required a relatively fast construction time period, this design was
determined not be an apt solution. The lateral stiffness of the bridge was also a critical factor in eliminating this
bridge design. The Pythonbrug Bridge, as the name suggests resembles the shape of a Python. The bridge is a
well braced structure. The images of the bridges are shown below.
AXIS ENGINEERS Analysis and Design of an Unusual Pedestrian Bridge
Figure 1: Circular Pedestrian Bridge in Lujiazui, China
Figure 2: Pythonbrug Bridge in Amsterdam
WHY IS IT UNUSUAL?
The unusual nature of the bridge is due to its shape. It is composed of a double curvature resembling the
shape of a python.
AXIS ENGINEERS Analysis and Design of an Unusual Pedestrian Bridge
CONSTRUCTION MATERIAL
Steel is one the most extensively used construction material in the United States. In the domain of
pedestrian bridge construction, this material offers an array of lucrative advantages.
It reduces the time period of construction.
It has a superior height to weight ratio and this is crucial in pedestrian bridge design. This allows
the bridge to withstand greater loads for shallow depths.
Also the low selfweights of beams warrants an easier transportation and placement of the
structural element.
Another important advantage with steel is that, if designed with architectural aspects in mind, a
steel bridge can be a visual delight. Some of the world famous bridges known for their structural
magnificence are also aesthetically pleasing due to the utilization of steel sections.
TYPE OF BRIDGE
Selection of a bridge type often serves to be a very cumbersome process but since we drew our
inspiration from the Pythonbrug bridge, our structure is a truss bridge. Truss bridges have early roots in Europe
and they were an integral part of Americas expanding rail network in the 1800s. A truss bridge basically involves
a series of elements forming triangular units as only this geometry maintains the angle sections in place when
the elements are connected.
Newtons Laws usually suffice for a simple analysis of a truss bridge system but they are rarely statically
determinate. Hence the application of software packages becomes inevitable.
TOOLS FOR DESIGN
We explored SAP2000 and CSI Bridge and found that SAP2000 is a relatively convenient way to model
the structure and run the analysis. SAP (Structural Analysis Program) is an extensively used software program
for the analysis and design of buildings and bridges. It is very user friendly and includes all the structural codes
required for design.
PRELIMINARY DESIGN
Keeping in my mind the primary concerns for design as mentioned in the problem description and the
limitations that the site presented, we modelled the structure on SAP2000. The bridge is 150 long with a single
support at 50' from the left end. The side with cars is 15 higher than the side with the house (though the floor
of the house is 12 higher than where cars are parked. The AASHTO specifies that the width of a pedestrian
bridge should be between 8 and 156. Our bridge is 12' wide. The dimensions of our bridge are summarized in
the table below.
Table 1: Dimension of the Bridge
DIMENSION MINIMUM MAXIMUM PROPOSED
Length No Limitation No Limitation 150
Width 8 156 12
AXIS ENGINEERS Analysis and Design of an Unusual Pedestrian Bridge
BRIDGE MODEL
The plan and elevation were drafted on AutoCAD and are shown below. As you can see on the model,
the left side of the bridge is at a higher level relative to the other side of the bridge where the house is located.
Figure 3: Plan and Elevation of the Bridge
Figure 4: Site Layout
MODELLING THE BRIDGE ON SAP2000
The three dimensional model of the bridge was developed on SAP2000. The modeling process follows
as well established order of precedence. The various steps are elucidated below.
Grid Definition: The modelling process begins with the determination of an appropriate grid system.
The grid definition is a key aspect in 3D modelling. Accurate referencing of the required geometry
results in a more efficient design.
Element Definition: The grid definition is followed by inputting elements that constitute the bridge
and frame section assignment. This step only involves a preliminary member sizing.
AXIS ENGINEERS Analysis and Design of an Unusual Pedestrian Bridge
Application of Loads: This is followed by the application of all necessary loads and the analysis is
conducted.
Modification of Member Sizing: Based on the results of the analysis the member sizing is modified to
arrive at the lightest possible sections. Element forces and demand ratios were taken from the model
to appropriately size the final design.
The 3D model of the bridge is shown in Figure 4.
Figure 5: 3D Model of the Bridge
LOADS ON A BRIDGE
Any structure designed and constructed for use by the general public has to withstand dead and live
loads at a bare minimum. In addition to these loads, wind is a very important criteria for design. Interestingly,
unlike buildings dead load is not as important in the design of bridges. The most critical load in the case of a
bridge is an army marching in harmony as it causes resonance through the length of the bridge leading to failure.
A real life occurrence of this phenomenon is the Tacoma Bridge in Pierce County, Washington. Our client was
well aware of this structural failure and requested us to account for this phenomenon in our design. Also
considering that the clients Newfoundland puppies are expected to bound across the bridge to meet her when
she drives up, we included the load caused by the dog in our design.
MEMBER SIZING
Determining the appropriate member sizing is vital as it controls the weight of the structure. Selecting
the lightest structure that fits all requirements is the goal of every structural engineer. The main portion of the
structure consists of WT 6 x 36 and WT 8 x 50 sections while the braces are all L4 x 4 x sections.
AXIS ENGINEERS Analysis and Design of an Unusual Pedestrian Bridge
COST ESTIMATE
The cost of construction is one of the driving forces in any engineering project. The unpredictable
fluctuations in construction costs makes proper planning and budgeting essential elements for construction.
The total weight of the structure was calculated and based on the cost of material, other costs like labor,
transportation, architect fee, engineer fee and consulting charges were estimated. The total cost of the
structure including markups was found to be $1,311,385.31. The excel sheet used for the calculation of the
weight of the structure and cost estimation are shown below.
Table 2: Calculation of Weight of the Structure
Table 3: Calculation of Total Cost of the Structure
CONSTRUCTION TIMELINE
As mentioned earlier, one of the primary client requirements was a relatively short construction time.
Given the unorthodox nature of the project, it was indeed a challenge to optimize construction time. After a
number of meetings with the architect, engineer and contractor arrived at an anticipated completion time of
18 months. The elaborate timeline for different components of the project are shown below.
Architectural
o Consultation
o Design : 3 weeks
Engineering
o Preliminary Design : 3 weeks
o Shop drawings and RFIs : 3 weeks
AXIS ENGINEERS Analysis and Design of an Unusual Pedestrian Bridge
Construction
o Formwork Construction: 4 weeks
o Steel Welding: 5 weeks
o Structural Construction: 6 weeks
Overview
o Preliminary: 4 weeks
o Design and Construction: 12 weeks
o Final Inspection
ANALYSIS OF THE BRIDGE
As mentioned under the section Loads on a Bridge, dead load, live load, wind load and a moving load
were applied on the model and analyzed.
CASE 1: Dead+ Live+ Wind Table 4: Joint Displacements due to load case 1
The bridge was analyzed for the
load combination dead+ live + wind
load and the results are tabulated
below. It is evident from the table
below that the magnitude of
deflection is very small. The results
obtained are within the bounds of
expectations.
CASE 2: Dead+ Live+ Wind
Table 5: Joint Displacements due to load case 2
The lateral deformation of the
structure was also checked by
applying the wind load. Given the
extent to which the structure is
braced, the magnitude of lateral
deflection is also very small.
AXIS ENGINEERS Analysis and Design of an Unusual Pedestrian Bridge
APPENDICES
AXIS ENGINEERS Analysis and Design of an Unusual Pedestrian Bridge
APPENDIX AWind Load Vibration
Modal Analysis
Vibrations of a pedestrian bridge are a serious threat to human comfort. The degree of discomfort
varies with different human beings as some people are very sensitive while others can easily adjust to such
unexpected vibrations. A typical human response can be classified into physiological and psychological. When
the frequency of vibration approaches the natural frequency of the internal organs of the human body, the
response is physical. On the other hand, the psychological response is a mental response resulting from
unexpected motion.
AASHTO specifies that the natural frequency of the bridge in the vertical mode has to be a minimum of
3 Hz. As you can see from the results of the modal analysis shown in the table below, our bridge meets this
requirement.
Table 6: Modal Periods and Frequencies
AXIS ENGINEERS Analysis and Design of an Unusual Pedestrian Bridge
Table 7: Modal Participating Mass Ratios
As this table shows, the first mode will dominate with a participation factor of 85%. The next highest
percentage is the second mode with 1%, meaning it is highly unlikely to occur, though even if it does, the
frequency of this mode is 5 Hz, above the minimum requirement.
AXIS ENGINEERS Analysis and Design of an Unusual Pedestrian Bridge
APPENDIX BNewfoundland Puppy Analysis (Moving Load Analysis)
To account for the behavior of the clients dogs, a moving load was modeled in SAP. A large factor of safety
was assumed by modeling this load as one of either a 1 k/ft distributed load over 10 feet or as a concentrated
point load of 2 kips. The load was modeled as crossing from one side to the other and back to ensure the
bridge did not deform too much. As shown in the analyses before, the deflections were incredibly small. This is
due to the rigid nature of the arch design, in conjunction with the bracing provided. The bracing was designed
to prevent the puppies from falling through the sides and to provide vertical stability to the bridge.
Figure 6: Newfoundland Puppy
AXIS ENGINEERS Analysis and Design of an Unusual Pedestrian Bridge
SUBMITTAL TO THE ARCHITECTURAL CONTROL COMMITTEE
A video was conceived to be presented to the architectural control committee. The link to the video is
given below.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXLryzIfXwE&feature=youtu.be
AXIS ENGINEERS Analysis and Design of an Unusual Pedestrian Bridge
BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. AASHTO. (2009). LRFD Guide Specifications for Design of Pedestrian Bridges. New York: AASHTO.
2. http://www.amusingplanet.com/2012/12/circularpedestrianbridgeinlujiazui.html
3. http://7zerofa.blogspot.com/2011/11/blogpost_2748.html
4. http://www.wpi.edu/Pubs/Eproject/Available/Eproject031013103455/unrestricted/WPI_
_Pedestrian_Bridge_Study.pdf
5. http://www.structuremag.org/article.aspx?articleid=1148
6. Looney Tunes Thats all Folks Video
