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RE: AASHTO Pedestrian Bridge Railing Requirements

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The requirements for bicycle railings on California highway structures can be found in subsection 'Geometry and Loads' of Bridge Design Specification [April 2000] Section 2.7.2 'Bicycle Railing'. The California BDS is based on AASHTO with Interims and Revsions by Caltrans.  I don't know if section is revised by our DOT from the AASHTO spec.
Minimum height = 54" from top of riding surface to top of top rail.
From 0" to 27" above riding surface:  4" Sphere cannot pass though any opening.
From 27" to 54" above riding surface: 8" sphere cannot pass through any opening.
Please refer to the link above for the full comprehensive set of design requirements.
Brent Koch, P.E.
Livermore, CA
-----Original Message-----
From: Troy Madlem [mailto:tmadlem(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Tuesday, November 25, 2003 07:02 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.