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Different Types of Bridge Railings

What is Bridge Railing?

The main purpose of a bridge railing system is to ensure public safety along the entire length and sides of the bridge. It entails ensuring that bicyclists and pedestrians are safe and rerouting rogue automobiles back onto the road without causing a safety threat when impacted.

Despite the fact that railing systems do not generally give bridges any structural strength, they must be crashworthy. Bridge railing is therefore more rigid than highway railing that is more flexible and stiffer than regular highway railing.

A transition railing is utilised to connect the two railing structures because it offers a progressive shift in the hardness of the two railing systems. Design and specifications for railings have changed as a result of changes in vehicle size and power. 

Railings are used all throughout the country and come in a variety of sizes and styles. The railing is selected based on the site’s geometry, design speed, average daily traffic volumes, and number of vehicles using the route, among other service level criteria.

The choice of railing to utilise is influenced by a variety of other criteria, including practical and aesthetic concerns. The four basic railing systems at bridges and approaches are bridge railings, Transitions, Approach guardrails, and Approach guardrail ends.

The agency standards for allowable heights, materials, strengths, and geometric features are meant to be met by these four fundamental components.

Steel Bridge Railings

Steel railings are available in a variety of cross-sections and styles. A tubular rail system is the most typical style of steel bridge rail. These railings can be constructed separately, as an integral part of the concrete curb, or on a low barrier wall. 

Architectural steel railings are frequently utilised for pedestrians and on bridges with light vehicular traffic. Bridges with significant architectural value don’t have a big, heavy design. They include ornamental railings without compromising pedestrian security.

Concrete Bridge Railings

The most typical material used to build bridges is concrete. The bridge’s deck slab has concrete railings affixed to it to make a sturdy vehicular barrier. The ideal option for metropolitan areas or bridges that carry big truck loads is concrete railing.

A concrete railing’s initial construction will cost a lot of money. In rare circumstances, large concrete barriers can obstruct a view of the open road. In these circumstances, a tubular railing system can be paired with high-strength concrete railings. The bridge deck material, required state criteria, and construction budget all influence the size and design of the bridge railings.

W-Beam Bridge Railings

From the top of the bridge to the pavement, this system normally extends 27 inches, and it is attached to steel supports or truss girders.

Basic steel railings with increased strength include W-Beams. A steel railing that performs well in places with heavy traffic flow is the Three Beam, similar to the W-Beam. Galvanization or paint coatings are applied to steel railings for pedestrians. Provinces have different requirements for steel railing systems because of their unique nature.

Thrie Beam Bridge Railings

High-strength guard rail systems known as Thrie Beams are intended for use on highways, particularly on slopes and curves. A three-wave cross-sectional design and superior tensile strength and anti-corrosion qualities distinguish thrie beam rail from W-Beams.

The impact of out-of-control cars can be absorbed by triple-beam rail systems, which can also direct them to a safer stop. These rail systems offer exceptional functionality and adaptability.


The process of preventing degradation of the railing system brought on by moisture, de-icing agents, vibration from traffic, and the environment is known as preventive maintenance.

Materials may have faults from the beginning, such as thin patches of galvanising on steel or fissures in concrete brought on by incorrect drying after pouring, which might trigger failure before its time. Using best-practice methods and materials, preventative maintenance tries to slow the breakdown process as much as feasible. 

Determine the level of upkeep, the materials required, the signage and traffic controls needed before working on any bridge railing.

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