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Bridge Aesthetics

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Bridge Aesthetics
Design guidelines to improve the appearance of bridges in NSW

Contents

Foreword

2

01

Introduction

3

02

Design approach

9

03

The whole

15

04

The parts

25

05

The details

41

06

Particular conditions

49

Bibliography

56

Acknowledgments
Prepared by a collaboration of:
The Government Architects Office | RTA Operations Directorate, Bridge Section | RTA Road Network Infrastructure Directorate, Urban Design Section
Project team:
Wije Ariyaratne | Mark Bennett | Joe Canceri | Raeburn Chapman | Gareth Collins | Ian Hobson | Col Jones | Peter Mould | Ray Wedgwood
The information in this document is current as at July 2003.

The whole

Foreword
It is nearly four years since the RTA published Beyond the
Pavement: RTA Urban and Regional Practice Notes. In that time
the RTA has significantly changed the way it deals with the
design of its roads and transitways.

Bridges have been part of human settlement for thousands
of years. Historic bridges stand as evidence of the power and
influence of past societies. They vary greatly in style and
reflect the culture and engineering innovation of their society.

In keeping with the Beyond the Pavement philosophy, this
document addresses the design and appearance of our
bridges in a systematic and practical manner. It draws from
the wealth of design excellence in our bridge inventory as
well as from past design problems.

They show the daring, engineering skill and craftsmanship of
their builders and even in the simplest bridges we can find
inventiveness and subtlety in working with the local context.

It stresses that good bridge aesthetics need not be
costly nor a maintenance burden, but are integral to good
engineering design.
I commend these guidelines to the RTA and everyone
involved in road and bridge design and look forward to
the outcomes.

Paul Forward
Chief Executive, RTA
November 2003

Great bridges are audacious or beautiful enough to evoke
wonder. Their primary function of linkage soon adopts a
symbolic function.
A bridge in the landscape helps us interpret that landscape
by providing a scale and a reference to human intervention.
This was well defined by the famous Swiss architect Mario
Botta when he said, “the bridge defines the valley”.
Modern bridges exploit the latest technologies and
construction techniques. They allow us to challenge the
landscape in new ways and so impose our hand on the
landscape. It is important to do so well. Our impact on the
environment should be ...
Bridge Aesthetics
Design guidelines to improve the appearance of bridges in NSW
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