The Complete Guide to Types Of Bridge Components for 2021

What Is a Bridge

A Bridge Can be termed as a Connecting Structure for carrying the road traffic, roll out any type of obstruction that can slow the life of humans, it also creates bonding between different disconnected parts of the country, connects two parts of an ocean, and unifies the different parts of the country as one.

Main Parts Of a Bridge

There are different types of bridges. Different bridge types contain different parts. This article gives detailed information about the components and the different types of bridges.The main parts of the bridge are mentioned below:

  • Deck
  • Abutment
  • Pile
  • Pier
  • Girder
  • Rail Track


The deck can be referred to as the Foundation of a Bridge, which holds the shallow or deep base of the bridge. It bears the load passing over the passage and transmits the forces caused by the same to the sub-structures.


The abutment can be termed as the support provided by the two ends of the bridge. They are reinforced so that they can endure intense lateral pressures. Bridge with a single span has two abutments that offer vertical and lateral support. It also plays the role of retaining walls to resist lateral movement of the earthen fill of the bridge approach.


Piles are normally round, slender columns that support the substructure footing or partially form the substructure. Piles may be partially above ground or completely buried.

It is also known as beam, footing, and pier. The distance between piles is calculated so that it can support the rest of the structure that will be laid on top of them.


Pier is the compression member which stays above the pile and makes the structure stable. Pier generally provides for span at intermediate points.

Piers perform two main functions:

  • Transferring superstructure vertical loads to the foundation.
  • It resists the horizontal forces acting on the bridges.

For bridge pier to pier, distance is the span. Water pressure is the extra pressure that acts onto the pier laterally. Pier must be strong to handle the horizontal as well as lateral. Piers are known as compression members of the bridge.


It is the main component of the bridge that connects all the pile beams. It can consist of multiple simple spans, a single continuous span that is supported by multiple beams, cantilever spans, and cantilever spans with the suspended span between them. Girder mainly consists of multiple continuous spans that are supported by multiple beams, cantilever spans with suspended spans between them. It can be two types I-joist and Box. This name has been given because of its shape. I-joist girder type is commonly used in bridges. Box girder can be precast or cast in place and it is generally existing in prestressed condition.

Rail Track

Normally Road traffic is the main vehicle onto the bridge but if the train needs to be passed through that bridge rail track is the extra component.

We all know that bridges carry out various functions, but it is their shapes and size that make all the difference. The list below specifies the types of bridges.

  1. Beam Bridge
  2. Arch Bridge
  3. Truss Bridge
  4. Suspension Bridge
  5. Cable Bridge

Beam Bridge

The most basic form of bridge is known as Beam Bridge. These types of bridges are simply supported by horizontal beams and vertical piers. Beam Bridges can also be referred to as Girder Bridge or Stringer Bridge. These types of bridges are typically spanned with two or more spans and supported by abutment or pier at each end. These types of bridges are constructed using RCC, Wood, steel, etc. Beam bridges have spans less than 80m. The only demerits of beam bridges are they can be very expensive and spanned by limits.

Arch Bridge

As the name suggests an Arch Bridge consist of a curve-shaped abutment at each end. It is also the most popular form of Bridge. As we are aware that an arch bridge is a curve shape bridge, where the load on the curve is not directly applied straight down, but instead, loads are carried along the curve of the arch to the end of supports. The no. of curves (arches) in a bridge depends on the stress and loads that bridge should support. The span length of arch bridges is normally up to 250m, and the roadway of the bridge lies on the arch structure.

The only disadvantage of Arch Bridge is it requires a massive amount of building materials.

Truss Bridge

A Truss bridge is a form of bridge whose load-bearing superstructure is composed of a Truss. A structure of connected elements usually comprising triangular units. The connected elements may be stressed from tension, compression, or sometimes both in response to dynamic loads.

Suspension Bridge

This specific type of bridge is constructed by suspending the deck slab. The roadway is hanged using steel cables which are connected to two towers and secured by anchors by both ends of the bridge. The anchors are built of solid concrete blocks. The cable transfers the loads into compression in the two towers, this type of bridge can span 2000 - 7000 feet. The only demerit of Suspension Bridge is it is prone to way and ripple with the wind and this is the main reason why it is not used for railways.


Over the last thousand years, the bridge is one of the revolutionary discoveries made by the History Of Mankind. Initially, it was crafted with the most simple designs and materials bridges soon developed and enabled carrying of wide deckings and spanning of large distances over inaccessible terrain, rivers, mountains, plateaus, and prebuilt city infrastructures. The inner core structure of the bridge regulates how it distributes the internal forces of tension, compression, torsion, bending, and sheer.

As time moves on modern industrialization enables bridge builders to gain access to a wide array of bridge-building materials that enhance noticeable advantages over conventional construction processes.

The Complete Guide to Types Of Bridge Components for 2021