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Bridge manual (SM061)

This Bridge manual sets out the criteria for the design and evaluation of bridges, culverts, stock underpasses and subways, the design of earthworks and retaining structures. The manual is a companion document to the overarching Highway structures design guide which provides general and specific design criteria for all highway structures. 

The manual has been developed by the NZ Transport Agency for use on state highways or for the design of other new or replacement bridges proposed for funding from the National Land Transport Fund (NLTF). Use of the manual on other highways, including private highways, may be considered appropriate with the agreement of the relevant road controlling authority, client or landowner.

Structures technology is an area of ongoing research and refinement and the manual is reviewed from time to time to incorporate important corrections and amendments.

The Bridge manual was first issued by Transit New Zealand in May 1994. The second edition was published in June 2003. This third edition, the first to be released wholly by the Transport Agency, was released in May 2013.

The Bridge manual commentary is an informative commentary that provides background to various sections of the Bridge manual. It will be added to as appropriate. 

The Bridge manual and Bridge manual commentary can be downloaded from the links on this page and be reproduced for personal or in-house use without formal permission or charge.

Printed copies of the Bridge manual can be purchased from NZ Print, for $110 plus GST inc. freight. Email to order advising the address that the manual is to be sent to.

Note that the copy of the manual supplied will be current at the time of purchase but no further updates will be supplied. Updates will be available via this website.

Implementation of amendment 3

Amendment 3 to the Bridge manual (3rd edition) may be implemented immediately. For existing highway projects, confirmation should be sought from the Transport Agency, or the relevant road controlling authority for non-state highway schemes, whether this amendment may be used or works should still be undertaken in accordance with earlier versions of the Bridge manual.

With the publication of this amendment 3, Technical Advice Note TAN #17-14 Bridge manual amendment - interim advice - mechanical reinforcement couplers and anchorages has been superseded and withdrawn. The requirements of clause 4.2.1(f) for the design of reinforcement couplers and anchorages have been updated to align where possible with NZS 3101 amendment 3 and the requirements of ISO 15835 for couplers and ISO 15698 for anchorages. Some time is likely to be required for manufacturers to be able to demonstrate compliance with the new requirements. Consequently a new TAN will be issued shortly outlining interim acceptable requirements to apply during a transition period until compliance with the new requirements of the Bridge manual clause 4.2.1(f) can be met.

Note that TAN #17-09 Verification testing of steel materials remains current and is not affected by this amendment to the Bridge manual

Bridge manual - index - 2nd edition

The 2nd edition of the Bridge manual has been superseded by the 3rd edition.

For existing highway projects, confirmation should be sought from the NZTA, or the relevant road controlling authority for non-state highway schemes, whether this manual shall be used or designs should still be undertaken in accordance with the 2nd edition of the Bridge manual. Generally, the 3rd edition of the Bridge manual should be used for all highway projects commencing detailed design after 1 June 2013.

The 2nd edition of the Bridge manual therefore remains here for reference purposes.

Download manual section

Binder cover and title page Jul 2005 PDF [PDF, 423 KB] (3 pages | 410KB)
Foreword, record of amendments and registration form Jul 2005 PDF [PDF, 31 KB] (8 pages | 30KB)
Contents, introduction and acknowledgements Jul 2005 PDF [PDF, 152 KB] (4 pages | 150KB)
Section 1: Design statement Jul 2005 PDF [PDF, 34 KB] (7 pages | 30KB)
Section 2: Design - general requirements Jul 2005 PDF [PDF, 3.9 MB] (15 pages | 3.91MB)
Section 3: Design loading Jul 2005 PDF [PDF, 289 KB] (20 pages | 280KB)
Section 4: Analysis and design criteria Jul 2005 PDF [PDF, 322 KB] (37 pages | 310KB)
Section 5: Earthquake resistant design Jul 2005 PDF [PDF, 310 KB] (40 pages | 300KB)
Section 6: Evaluation of bridges and culverts Jul 2005 PDF [PDF, 943 KB] (34 pages | 920KB)
Section 7: Structural strengthing Jul 2005 PDF [PDF, 89 KB] (15 pages | 90KB)
Appendix A: Bridge widths and clearances Jul 2005 PDF [PDF, 258 KB] (10 pages | 250KB)
Appendix B: Bridge side protection Jul 2005 PDF [PDF, 1.1 MB] (36 pages | 1.07MB)
Appendix C: Toroidal rubber buffers Jul 2005 PDF [PDF, 119 KB] (1 page | 120KB)
Appendix D: Lightly trafficked rural bridges Jul 2005 PDF [PDF, 148 KB] (5 pages | 140KB)
Appendix E: Bridge site information summary Jul 2005 PDF [PDF, 94 KB] (20 pages | 90KB)

Download manual amendments

Covering letter and commentary, June 2004 amendment Jun 2004 PDF (5 pages | 980KB)
Covering letter and commentary, September 2004 amendment Sep 2004 PDF (15 pages | 1.14KB)
Covering letter and provisional, December 2004 amendment Dec 2004 PDF (18 pages | 2.35MB)
Covering letter, July 2005 amendment Jul 2005 PDF (2 pages | 70KB)