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RE: AASHTO Pedestrian Bridge Railing Requirements

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Troy -
I have a copy of the guide specifications with a publication date of August 1997.  The guide specifications and commentary is a very brief document (21 pages) that does not address railings at all, however, section 1.1 specifically says in part "These Guide Specifications shall apply to bridges intended to carry primarly pedestrian and/or bicycle traffic.  Unless amended herein, the existing provisions of the AASHTO Standard Specifications for Highway Bridges, 16th Edition, shall apply when using these Guide Specifications."
It appears that your railing design would be in accordance with the 16th Edition specifications.

Albert J. Meyer, Jr., P.E.
Senior Project Engineer
Cagley, Harman & Associates
Structural Engineers / Parking Consultants
1015 West Ninth Avenue
King of Prussia PA 19406-1222
(610) 337-3360
(610) 337-3359 Fax

-----Original Message-----
From: Troy Madlem [mailto:tmadlem(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Tuesday, November 25, 2003 10:02 AM
To: 'seaint(--nospam--at)'
Subject: AASHTO Pedestrian Bridge Railing Requirements

Good morning everyone,

Does anyone have access to the AASHTO Guide Specifications for Design of Pedestrian Bridges?  We have ordered the publication but with the holidays it won’t arrive in time to resolve our client’s question.


Is anyone willing to look up the requirements in the above publication for railings on a bridge intended to carry pedestrian and bicycle traffic only? 


AASHTO’s Standard Specifications for Highway Bridges, 16th edition, requires a minimum height of 54 inches and that the railing assembly such that a 6 inch sphere will not pass through any opening (between the riding surface and 27” above it) and an 8 inch sphere will not pass through any opening (27” above the riding surface).  AASHTO’s Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities, 1999, states only that railings should be a minimum of 42 inches high.


Thanks for your help.  Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.


Troy Madlem, P.E.