Today, both durability and economic factors play a very important part in the choice of bridge abutment type. Durability considerations are very important in providing long-term performance of the bridge structure, both in the choice of structural form and in the design of construction details. Economic considerations focus on the whole life cost and on the duration of construction. This is particularly so with replacement bridges, where there is a significant cost element for lane rentals for closures, and a more expensive design may make overall savings from an earlier completion time. In addition, where land/space is limited in urban areas, the type and method of construction are also important, because of the constraints being imposed.
Steel sheet pile embedded retaining walls for bridge abutments can fulfil the criteria for economic bridge abutments. It is hoped that this guide will encourage designers and constructors to consider a steel substructure more frequently during the conceptual and preliminary design phases of project, and thereby to take advantage of the potential to build more efficiently.
The guide is written with reference to UK construction legislation, Department of Transport specifications, and both UK Codes of Practice and European Standards.