Major Parts Of Bridges

This article will touch upon the 5 major parts/components of bridges. Civil engineer should have clear understanding of these components and their function.

Any structure can be classified on the bases of following major components.

  • Super-Structure
  • Sub-Structure

bridge structure components

Super Structure Of Bridges

All components of bridges which are mounted on supporting system is known as super structure. This is the part which support traffic and mainly consititute of Girders, slabs, deck etc.


Beam or girder is part of superstructure structure which is taking live load (designed for bending mostly) along the span. It is the  load bearing member which supports the deck. Span  Deck is bridge floor directly carrying traffic loads and then transferring on to girders.

Prestressed I Girder in Bridge


Bearing is a structural part used to transfer loads from girders to substructure or piers while allowing certain permitted movements. (Angular or linear)

Bearing in bridges
Bearing in Brdiges


Substructure is that part of bridge which supports super sturcutre. It constitiutetes of piers, abutments and foundations (usually pile foundations are used for brdiges)


Pier part of the substructure which supports the superstructure at the end of the span (i-e from bearing) and which transfers loads from super structure to piles. Piers are mostly made up of prestressed concrete and can be of circular or rectangular in shape.

Piers in Bridges
Piers in Bridges


Piles are mostly used for bridges typically because of the nature and magnitude of loads. Again mostly concrete is used to construct piles. Piles can be driven or cast in situ.