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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Note TAN #17-14 Bridge manual amendment - interim advice - mechanical reinforcement couplers and anchorages has been superseded and withdrawn.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 - 3rd edition

Download manual section

Title Date Download
Cover, record of amendments, foreword and table of contents October 2018 PDF [PDF, 313 KB]
Section 1: Introduction October 2018 PDF [PDF, 72 KB]
Section 2: Design - General requirements October 2018 PDF [PDF, 974 KB]
Section 3: Design loading October 2018 PDF [PDF, 824 KB]
Section 4: Analysis and design criteria October 2018 PDF [PDF, 1.3 MB]
Section 5: Earthquake resistant design of structures October 2018 PDF [PDF, 1.9 MB]

Section 6: Site stability, foundations, earthworks and retaining walls

Geosynthetic soil reinforcement product approvals

October 2018 PDF [PDF, 2.4 MB]
Section 7: Evaluation of bridges and culverts October 2018 PDF [PDF, 630 KB]
Section 8: Structural strengthening October 2018 PDF [PDF, 306 KB]
Appendix A: Bridge widths and clearances May 2016 PDF [PDF, 513 KB]
Appendix B: Barrier systems on structures May 2016 PDF [PDF, 937 KB]
Appendix C: Seismic hardware October 2018 PDF [PDF, 171 KB]
Appendix D: Lightly trafficked rural bridges and other structures October 2018 PDF [PDF, 143 KB]
Appendix E: Structure site information summary May 2016 PDF [PDF, 138 KB]
Appendix F: Technical approval, review and certification procedures May 2016 PDF [PDF, 18 KB]

Download complete manual

Title Date Download
Bridge manual - complete October 2018 PDF [PDF, 9.1 MB]

Download new manual pages

Title Date Download
Bridge manual - new pages               October 2018 PDF [PDF, 7.2 MB]

Download Bridge manual commentary

Title Date Download
Bridge manual commentary October 2018 PDF [PDF, 3.7 MB]