U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590

Skip to content U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway AdministrationU.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration

Bridges & Structures

Pier Design Example

  1. Obtain Design Criteria Design Step 8.1

    Commentary for 1: Includes: Concrete strength, Concrete density, Reinforcing steel strength, Superstructure information, Span information, Required pier height

  2. Select Optimum Pier Type Design Step 8.2

    Commentary for 2: Pier types include: Hammerhead, Multi-column, Wall type, Pile bent, Single column

  3. Reinforced concrete hammerhead pier?

  4. Select Preliminary Pier Dimensions Design Step 8.3

    Commentary for 4: Includes: Pier cap, Pier column, Pier footing

  5. Design selected pier type.

  6. Compute Dead Load Effects S3.5.1 Design Step 8.4

    Commentary for 6: Includes: Dead load reactions from superstructure (DC and DW), Pier cap dead load, Pier column dead load, Pier footing dead load

  7. Compute Live Load Effects S3.6.1 Design Step 8.5

    Commentary for 7: Longitudinally, place live load such that reaction at pier is maximized. Transversely, place design trucks and lanes across roadway width at various locations to provide various different loading conditions. Pier design must satisfy all live load cases.

  8. Compute Other Load Effects S3.6 - S3.14 Design Step 8.6

    Commentary for 8: Includes: Centrifugal forces (S3.6.3), Braking force (S3.6.4), Vehicular collision force (S3.6.5), Water loads (S3.7), Wind loads (on live load, on superstructure, and on pier) (S3.8), Ice loads (S3.9), Earthquake loads (S3.10), Earth pressure (S3.11), Temperature loads (S3.12), Vessel collision (S3.14)

  9. Analyze and Combine Force Effects S3.4.1 Design Step 8.7

  10. Design Pier Cap Section 5 Design Step 8.8

    Commentary for 10: Design includes: Design for flexure (negative), Design for shear and torsion (stirrups and longitudinal torsion reinforcement), Check crack control

  11. Design Pier Column Section 5 Design Step 8.9

    Commentary for 11: Design includes: Slenderness considerations, Interaction of axial and moment resistance, Design for shear

  12. Is a pile foundation being used?

  13. Design Pier Piles S10.7 Design Step 8.10

  14. Design Step P

  15. Design Pier Footing Section 5 Design Step 8.11

    Commentary for 15: Design includes: Design for flexure, Design for shear (one-way and two-way), Crack control

  16. Draw Schematic of Final Pier Design Design Step 8.12

  17. Return to Main Flowchart


1 go to 2
2 go to 3
3 if yes go to 4
3 if no go to 5
4 go to 6
6 go to 7
7 go to 8
8 go to 9
9 go to 10
10 go to 11
11 go to 12
12 if yes go to 13
12 if no go to 15
13 go to 14
14 go to 15
15 go to 16
16 go to 17
<< previous Contents next >>
Updated: 07/02/2013
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000