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DESIGN ILLUSTRATION – BRIDGE ABUTMENT DESIGN

Conference Paper · October 2010


DOI: 10.1680/bdte.41509.481

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T Christie, M Glendinning, J Bennetts, S Denton 1

DESIGN ILLUSTRATION – BRIDGE ABUTMENT DESIGN


T Christie, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Bristol, UK
M Glendinning, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Cardiff, UK
J Bennetts, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Bristol, UK
S Denton, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Bristol, UK

Abstract
This paper provides a calculation showing how the heel length and overall length of the base
slab of a conventional cantilever gravity abutment can be determined in accordance with the
requirements of the Eurocodes and relevant non-contradictory information[1],[2],[3],[4],[5],[6].
Sliding resistance, bearing resistance and overturning stability are all considered.

The calculations illustrate the requirements of the Eurocodes in regard to loading, partial
factors, combination of actions and other issues which require a somewhat different approach
from that used with pre-Eurocode designs.

Notation
The symbols used in the calculations are as for the Eurocode and PD 6694-1. Other symbols
are defined in the text of the calculations or identified in the Figure 1.

The Design Problem


An 8m high, 12m wide abutment of a multispan continuous bridge is shown in Figure 1. It is
required to determine the heel length (Bheel) and the overall base length (B) of this abutment
necessary to satisfy the requirements of sliding resistance, bearing resistance and overturning
stability specified in the Eurocodes. The abutment is subject to three notional 3m wide lanes
of traffic surcharge.

The characteristic actions and soil parameters applied to the abutment are as follows:

Permanent actions
Weight of steel beams 50 kN/m
Weight of concrete deck 72 kN/m
Weight of surfacing 36 kN/m

Actions for traffic group gr2


Maximum vertical traffic reaction Vtraffic 100 kN/m
Uplift due to traffic on adjacent span Utraffic 30 kN/m
Braking and acceleration action Hbraking 50 kN/m
UDL surcharge (from PD 6694-1 Table 5) h 20Ka kN/m²
Line load surcharge (from PD 6694-1 Table 5) F 2 x 330 Ka kN/lane
T Christie, M Glendinning, J Bennetts, S Denton 2

Soil parameters:

Granular backfill
Weight density γbf 18 kN/m²
Angle of shearing resistance 'bf 35

Clay foundations
Weight density  18 kN/m²
Undrained shear strength cu 100 kN/m²
Angle of shearing resistance ' 27
Critical state angle of shearing resistance 'cv 23
Overburden pressure (q) = γbf x Zq q 12 kN/m²

The initial dimensions of the foundations are to be based on traffic load group gr2 in which
the characteristic value of the multi-component action is taken as the frequent value of Load
Model 1 in combination with the frequent value of the associated surcharge model, together
with the characteristic value of the braking and acceleration action, (see the UK National
Annex to BS EN 1991-2:2003, NA.2.34.2).

Wind is not required to be considered in combination with traffic model gr2 and thermal
actions are not considered to be significant and are therefore neglected in these preliminary
calculations.

The water table is well below foundation level and need not be considered, but it is required
to check sliding resistance and bearing resistance at STR/GEO for both the drained and the
undrained condition.

As no explicit settlement calculation is to be carried out at SLS it is required to be


demonstrated that a sufficiently low fraction of the ground strength is mobilised (see BS EN
1997-1:2004, 2.4.8(4)). This requirement will be deemed to be satisfied if the maximum
pressure at SLS does not exceed one third of the characteristic resistance (see PD 6694-1,
5.2.2).
T Christie, M Glendinning, J Bennetts, S Denton 3

Transverse Dimensions

Abutment width Wabut = 12m


Y= 1.5

Notional lane widths Wlane = 3m


X=0.25
The traffic on the third Z
notional lane is subject to
a 0.5 lane factor so that the
effective number of lanes Nlane
used in the surcharge Zq
calculation is 2.5 (see UK
National Annex to BS EN 1991- P
2:2003, NA 2.34.2)
Bheel
B

Figure 1. Base slab design for a gravity cantilever bridge abutment

Methodology for Preliminary Design


Calculations are carried out "in parallel" for the SLS characteristic combination of actions and
for STR/GEO Combinations 1 and 2, using Design Approach 1 (see BS EN 1997-1:2004,
2.4.7.3.4.2). Partial factors on actions are taken from the UK National Annex to BS EN
1990:2002, Table NA.A2.4 (B) and (C), partial factors for soil parameters are from the UK
National Annex to BS EN 1997-1:2004, Table A.NA.A.4 and ψ factors from the UK National
Annex to BS EN 1990:2002, Table NA.A2.1. The preliminary calculations are carried out on
a "metre strip" basis

The following procedure was used for the preliminary design:

1. Calculations were carried out "in parallel" for the SLS characteristic combination and for
STR/GEO Combinations 1 and 2. This allowed a side-by-side comparison of the three limit
states to be made and repetitive calculations to be minimised.

2. The following actions were calculated:

(a) The total horizontal action on the wall (H) due to active earth pressure, traffic
surcharge (factored by ψ1) and braking and acceleration (see Table 1).
.
(b) The minimum vertical reaction due to deck reaction (VDL;inf) and uplift caused by
traffic on remote spans (U) (see Table 2).

(c) The maximum vertical reaction due to the weight of the deck and traffic (see Table
3).
T Christie, M Glendinning, J Bennetts, S Denton 4

(d) The vertical pressure exerted by the backfill and the base slab (γbfZ). (For
convenience in these preliminary calculations, the density of the concrete in the base
slab and abutment wall was considered to be the same as the density of the backfill
(γbf)).

3. The length of the heel (Bheel) required to provide enough weight to resist sliding for the
drained foundation was found as follows:

The sliding resistance due to the weight of the deck less traffic uplift (Rvx) was taken
as (VDL;inf - U)tan'cv. The required sliding resistance due to the weight of the backfill
and abutment was therefore H-Rvx. The weight of the abutment and backfill required
to provide this resistance was therefore equal to (H-Rvx)/tan'cv and this had to equal
BheelγbfZ. The required value of Bheel therefore equalled (H-Rvx)/(γbfZtan'cv) and this
equals (H-Rvx)/(μγbfZ) as in Table 2.

4. As it was recognised that the loads on the toe and the use of the correct density of concrete
would increase the sliding resistance, the selected figure of Bheel in Table 2 was taken as
slightly less than the figure of Bheel obtained from the calculation.

5. For undrained foundations the total overall base length for sliding, (B1) was taken as Hd/cu;d
as in Table 2 (see BS EN 1997-1:2004, Equation 6a).

6. The required overall base length is also dependent on other factors such as the requirement
to keep the load within the middle third at SLS and within the middle two-thirds at ULS, the
bearing resistance for the drained and undrained condition and in some circumstances
(although not for this structure) for resistance to overturning. In all these calculations the
eccentricity of the vertical action is required. To obtain this it is convenient to take moments
about the back of the heel (point P on Figure 1) rather than the centre of the base, because the
bearing resistance calculations are iterative, but the moments about the back of the heel do not
alter with varying toe lengths, provided the value of Bheel is not changed. This allows multiple
iterations to be carried out with minimal change to the data.

7. Moments about P were calculated (see Tables 4 and 5). The distance of the line of action
from P is eheel, where eheel = M/V and M is the total moment about P and V is the total vertical
load. It can be shown that to satisfy the SLS middle third condition (see PD 6694-1, 5.2.2),
the overall base length (B2) must be 1.5 eheel, and to satisfy the ULS middle two-thirds
condition (see BS EN 1997-1:2004, 6.5.4), the overall base length (B3) must be 1.2 eheel (see
Table 5).

8. To determine the overall base length (B) required to provide adequate bearing resistance for
the undrained and drained conditions, an iterative calculation with increasing values of B was
carried out, starting with the maximum value of the base length found from the sliding
calculations (i.e the largest of B1, B2, or B3) and increasing progressively until the bearing
resistance for the undrained and drained conditions drained and the toe pressure limitation at
SLS were all satisfied.
T Christie, M Glendinning, J Bennetts, S Denton 5

9. The selected value of B and the calculations in Table 6 and 7 are based on the final
iteration, that is the minimum value of B necessary to satisfy the bearing resistance
requirements. The calculations largely replicate the equations given in BS EN 1997-1:2004,
Annex D.

Notes
 The abutment is assumed to be transversely stiff and so the traffic loads can be
distributed over the whole width of the abutment (see PD 6694-1, Table 5 Note C)
 For convenience in the preliminary design, the density of the concrete in the base slab
and wall is considered to be the same as the density of the backfill (bf).
 It should be noted that the same partial factor G is applied to the vertical and
horizontal earth pressure actions (see PD 6694-1, 4.6). This is only likely to be
relevant in a sliding resistance calculation if STR/GEO Combination 1 is more critical
than Combination 2.
 In these calculations a model factor, Sd;k = 1.2 has been applied to the horizontal earth
pressure at ULS in order to maintain a similar level of reliability to previous practice
(see PD 6694-1, 4.7).
 In Tables 1 to 7 the figures given in the SLS column are the characteristic values of
material properties and dimensions and the characteristic or representative values of
actions per metre width. The figures in the STR/GEO columns are the design values
unless otherwise indicated.
T Christie, M Glendinning, J Bennetts, S Denton 6

STR/GEO
Horizontal actions SLS Comb. Comb.
1 2

Height of abutment Z Z 8.00 8.00 8.00 m


Partial factor on soil weight G;sup 1.00 1.35 1.00

Backfill density = γbf;k G;sup bf,d 18.0 24.3 18.0 kN/m3


'bf;k = 35; Partial factor M on tan('bf;k) M 1.00 1.00 1.25
tan-1(tan('bf;k)/M) = 'bf;d 'bf;d 35.0 35.0 29.3

Active pressure coefficient Ka incl. (M)


(1-sin'bf;d)/(1+sinbf;d) Ka 0.27 0.27 0.34
Model factor Sd:K Sd:K 1.00 1.20 1.20

Design active pressure action


bf;dKaSd;KZ²/2 = Hap;d Hap;d 156 253 237 kN/m

Surcharge UDL = hWlaneNlane/Wabut


= (20Ka) x 3 x 2.5/12 = h;ave h;ave 3.39 3.39 4.29 kN/m2
Surcharge UDL action h;ave x Z = Hsc;udl Hsc;udl 27.1 27.1 34.3 kN/m

Surcharge Line Load/m = F Ka Nlane / Wabut


= 2 x 330Ka x 2.5/12 = Hsc;F
Hsc;F 37.3 37.3 47.2 kN/m
Combined surcharge/m Hsc;udl + Hsc;F =
Hsc;comb Hsc;comb 64.4 64.4 81.6 kN/m
Partial factor on surcharge γQ γQ 1.00 1.35 1.15
1 = 0.75 for surcharge in traffic group grp2 1 0.75 0.75 0.75
Design surcharge = Hsc;d = Hsc;comb.ψ.γQ Hsc;d 48.3 65.2 70.4 kN/m
Characteristic braking action Hbraking;k Hbraking;k 50.0 50.0 50.0 kN/m
Partial factor on braking Q Q 1.00 1.35 1.15
Braking action /m Hbraking:d= Hbraking;k Q Hbraking;d 50.0 67.5 57.5 kN/m

TOTAL DESIGN HORIZONTAL


ACTION Hd = Hap;d + Hsc;d + Hbraking;d Hd 254 386 365 kN/m
Table 1. Horizontal actions
T Christie, M Glendinning, J Bennetts, S Denton 7

STR/GEO
Minimum vertical actions and sliding
SLS Comb. Comb.
resistance
1 2

Height of abutment Z Z 8.00 8.00 8.00 m


Characteristic deck weight 50+72+36 = 158 VDL;k 158 158 158 kN/m
Inferior partial factor on deck weight G;inf 1.00 0.95 1.00
Inferior weight of deck VDL;inf;d 158 150 158 kN/m
Uplift from traffic Uk 30.0 30.0 30.0 kN/m
Superior partial factor on uplift Q;sup 1.00 1.35 1.15

 1= 0.75 for vertical traffic actions in traffic


group grp2 1 0.75 0.75 0.75

Factored uplift from traffic Uk.Q  = Ud Ud 22.5 30.4 25.9 kN/m

Minimum vertical loads from deck and


traffic Vx;d = VDL;inf;d – Ud Vx;d 136 120 132 kN/m
'cv;k = 23; Partial factor M on tan('cv;k) M 1.00 1.00 1.25
Coefficient of friction tan('cv;k)/M = d d 0.42 0.42 0.34

Sliding resistance due to Vx d.Vx;d = Rvx;d Rvx;d 57.5 50.8 44.9 kN/m
Horizontal action from Table 1, Hd Hd 254 386 365 kN/m
Reqd resistance from backfill [Hd – Rvx;d] Rreq 197 335 320 kN/m
Density of backfill (Table 1) bf;d b;df 18.0 24.3 18.0 kN/m3
Frictional shear stress due to backfill: [dbf;d
Z] 61.1 82.5 48.9 kN/m2

Required Bheel= Rreq / (d bf;d Z) Bheel;req 3.22 4.06 6.55 m

SELECTED VALUE OF HEEL Bheel


Rounded down, see Methodology para. (4) Bheel 6.25 6.25 6.25 m
cu;k = 100; Partial factor M on cu;k cu 1 1 1.4
Undrained shear strength cu:d = cu;k /cu cu:d 100.0 100.0 71.4 kN/m2

OVERALL BASE LENGTH B1 = Hd/cu;d B1 2.54 3.86 5.11 m


Table 2. Minimum vertical actions and sliding resistance
T Christie, M Glendinning, J Bennetts, S Denton 8

STR/GEO
Maximum vertical actions SLS Comb. Comb.
1 2

Height of abutment Z Z 8.00 8.00 8.00 m


Selected value of Bheel (Table 2) Bheel 6.25 6.25 6.25 m
Partial factor on steelwork G;sup G;sup 1.00 1.20 1.00
Weight of steelwork = 50G;sup 50.0 60.0 50.0 kN/m3
Partial factor on concrete G;sup G;sup 1.00 1.35 1.00
Weight of concrete = 72G;sup 72.0 97.2 72.0 kN/m3
Partial factor on surfacing G;sup G;sup 1.00 1.20 1.00
Weight of surfacing = 36G;sup 36.0 43.2 36.0 kN/m3
Superior weight of deck/m VDL;sup;d VDL;sup;d 158 200 158 kN/m

Characteristic vertical action from traffic


Vtraffic;k Vtraffic;k 100.0 100.0 100.0 kN/m
Partial factor on traffic Q Q 1.00 1.35 1.15

1 = 0.75 for vertical traffic actions in traffic


group grp2 1 0.75 0.75 0.75

Design traffic action/m


Vtraffic;d =Vtraffic;k Q  Vtraffic;d 75.0 101 86.3 kN/m
Density of backfill bf;d (Table 1) bf;d 18.0 24.3 18.0 kN/m3
Selected width of heel Bheel (Table 2) Bheel 6.25 6.25 6.25 m

Design weight of backfill/m


Vbf;d = bf;d Z Bheel Vbf;d 900 1215 900 kN/m

TOTAL MAXIMUM VERTICAL LOAD


Vmax;d = VDL;sup;d + Vtraffic;d+ Vbf;d Vmax;d 1133 1517 1144 kN/m
Table 3. Maximum vertical actions
T Christie, M Glendinning, J Bennetts, S Denton 9

STR/GEO
Moments about the underside of the base
SLS Comb. Comb.
due to horizontal actions
1 2
Active Pressure action Hap;d including Sd;K
(Table 1) Hap;d 156 253 237 kN/m
Lever arm = Z/3 2.67 2.67 2.67 m
Active Moment Map;d = Hap;d Z/3 Map;d 416 674 633 kNm
Surcharge UDL action Hsc;udl (Table 1) Hsc;udl 27.1 27.1 34.3 kN/m
Lever arm = Z/2 4.00 4.00 4.00 m
Hsc;udl x Z/2 = Msc;udl Msc;udl 108 108 137 kNm
Surcharge Line Load Hsc;F (Table 1) Hsc;F 37.3 37.3 47.2 kN/m
Lever arm = Z Z 8.00 8.00 8.00 m
Hsc;F Z = Msc;F Msc;F 298 298 378 kNm
Combined surcharge moment Msc;udl + Msc;F Msc;comb 406 406 515 kNm
Q for surcharge Q 1.00 1.35 1.15
1 = 0.75 for surcharge in traffic group grp2 1 0.75 0.75 0.75
Design surcharge moment Msc;combQ1 Msc;d 305 412 444 kNm
Braking action/m Hbraking;d (Table 1) Hbraking;d 50.0 67.5 57.5 kN/m
Lever arm for braking (Z-Y) = La;b = 8 - 1.5 La;b 6.50 6.50 6.50 m

Braking moment Mbraking;d = Hbraking;d x La;b Mbraking;d 325 439 374 kNm

MOMENT DUE TO HORIZONTAL


ACTIONS,
Mhor;d = Map;d + Msc;d + Mbraking;d Mhor;d 1046 1525 1451 kNm
Table 4. Moments about the underside of the base due to horizontal actions
T Christie, M Glendinning, J Bennetts, S Denton10

STR/GEO
Moments about the back of the heel SLS Comb. Comb.
1 2

Width of heel Bheel Bheel 6.25 6.25 6.25 m

Distance of deck reactions


behind front of wall X X 0.25 0.25 0.25 m
La;deck = Bheel - X La;deck 6.00 6.00 6.00 m

Superior weight of deck VDL;sup;d (Table 3) VDL;sup;d 158 200 158 kN/m

Deck Moment VDL;sup;d La;deck = Mdeck;d Mdeck;d 948 1202 948 kNm
Traffic Load Vtraffic;d (Table 3) Vtraffic;d 75.0 101 86.3 kN/m

Traffic Moment Vtraffic;d La;deck = Mtraffic;d Mtraffic;d 450 608 518 kN/m
Weight of backfill Vbf;d (Table 2) Vbf;d 900 1215 900 kNm
Backfill moment Vbf;d Bheel/2 = Mbf;d Mbf;d 2813 3797 2813 kN/m

Total Moment about heel due to vertical


actions Mvert;d = Mdeck;d + Mtraffic;d + Mbf;d Mvert;d 4211 5607 4278 kNm

Moment about base due to horizontal


Actions (Table 4) Mhor;d 1046 1525 1451 kNm

Total design moment about heel


Mvert;d+ Mhor;d = Mheel;d Mheel;d 5257 7131 5729 kNm
Total vertical load Vd (Table 3) Vd 1133 1517 1144 kN/m

Line of action in front of heel eheel


= Mheel / V eheel 4.64 4.70 5.01 m

Total length B2 required for middle third at


SLS = 1.5 eheel (see PD 6694-1 5.2.2) B2 6.96 m

Total length B3 for middle two thirds at ULS


= 1.2 eheel (see BS EN 1997-1 6.5.4) B3 5.64 6.01 m
Table 5. Moments about the back of the heel (Position P on Figure 1)
T Christie, M Glendinning, J Bennetts, S Denton11

STR/GEO
Bearing Resistance – undrained foundation SLS Comb. Comb.
1 2
Geometry of foundation (m)
Final B (found iteratively) B 8.60 8.60 8.60 m
Heel length Bheel (Table 2) Bheel 6.25 6.25 6.25 m
Transverse width of foundation L L 12.0 12.0 12.0 m
Inclination   0o 0o 0o
Partial factors
F applied to  G 1.00 0.95 1.00
M applied to tan  1.00 1.00 1.25
M applied to cu cu 1.00 1.00 1.40
M applied to c c 1.00 1.00 1.00
Properties of foundation material
Weight density d (including G) d 18.0 17.1 18.0 kN/m3
Angle of shearing resistance d d 27.0 27.0 22.2
Cohesion intercept cd cd 0 0 0
Undrained shear strength cu;d cu;d 100.0 100.0 71.4 kN/m2
Applied action
Horizontal actions Hd (Table 1) Hd 254 386 365 kN/m
Vertical action Vd (Table 3) Vd 1133 1517 1144 kN/m
Moment about P = Mheel;d (Table 4) Mheel;d 5257 7131 5729 kNm/m
Mheel;d/V = eheel eheel 4.64 4.70 5.01 m
Eccentricity about centre line e = eheel - B/2 e 0.34 0.40 0.71 m
Overburden pressure qd 12.0 12.0 12.0 kN/m2
Effective foundation dimensions (m)
Effective foundation breadth B = B-2e B 7.92 7.80 7.19 m
Effective area for 1m strip design A = B A 7.92 7.80 7.19 m2
Effective transverse width L = L L 12.0 12.0 12.0 m
Undrained bearing resistance
(Annex D to BS EN 1997-1 D.3)
Bearing parameters for undrained
foundations
bc = 1-2/(+2) bc 1.00 1.00 1.00
sc = 1+0.2(B/L) sc 1.13 1.13 1.12
ic = ½{1+(1-Hd/Acu;d)} ic 0.91 0.86 0.77
R/A = (+2)cu;dbc sc ic + qd R/A 543 509 328 kN/m2
Vd /A Vd /A 143 195 159 kN/m2
Ratio R/V R / Vd 3.79 2.62 2.06
Settlement check
Not critical kN/m2
1/3(R/A) at SLS characteristic 181
(see Table 7)
Max toe pressure (1+6e/B)Vd / B 163 kN/m2
Table 6. Bearing Resistance – undrained foundation
T Christie, M Glendinning, J Bennetts, S Denton12

STR/GEO
Bearing Resistance – drained foundation SLS Comb. Comb.
1 2
Effective foundation dimensions
B from Table 6 B 7.92 7.80 7.19 m
L from Table 6 L 12.0 12.0 12.0 m
A per metre width from Table 6 A 7.92 7.80 7.19 m2
Other geometry, partial factors, foundation
properties and actions are as Table 6
Bearing parameters for drained
foundations
Nq = etandtan2 (45+d /2) Nq 13.2 13.2 7.96
Nc = (Nq-1)cot d Nc 23.9 23.9 17.1
N = 2 (Nq-1) tan , where   /2 (rough
base) N 12.4 12.4 5.68
bc = bq – (1-bq)/Nc tan d bc 1.00 1.00 1.00
bq = b = (1 -  tan d) bq , b 1.00 1.00 1.00
sq = 1 + (B / L) sin d, for a rectangular
shape sq 1.30 1.29 1.23
s = 1 – 0.3 (B/L), for a rectangular shape; s 0.80 0.81 0.82
sc = (sq Nq – 1)/(Nq – 1) for rectangular,
square or circular shape sc 1.32 1.32 1.26
m = (2+B/L)/(1+B/L) m 1.60 1.61 1.63
iq = [1 – H/(V + Acdcot d)]m iq 0.67 0.62 0.54
ic = iq – (1 – iq)/Nc tan d ic 0.64 0.59 0.47
i = [1 – H/(V + Acdcot d)]m+1 i 0.52 0.47 0.36
R/A = (Equation from BS EN 1997-1 D.4)
cd Nc bc sc ic 0.00 0.00 0.00
qd Nq bq sq iq 137 128 62.7
0.5 d B N b s i 367 311 110
R/A = sum of above R/A 504 439 172 kN/m2
Vd /A Vd /A 143 195 159 kN/m
Ratio R/V R / Vd 3.52 2.25 1.08
Resistance to limit settlement at SLS
1/3 (R/A) at SLS characteristic 168 Limits kN/m2
Max toe pressure (1+6e/B) Vd/B 163 satisfied kN/m2
Table 7. Bearing Resistance – drained foundation
T Christie, M Glendinning, J Bennetts, S Denton13

Final Design
After the preliminary design has been completed a final design should be carried out as given
below:

1. Select the final dimensions based on the preliminary values: Bheel = 6.25m and B = 8.6m.
As the weight on the toe has not been included in the preliminary design, Bheel has been
"rounded down" and the overall length (B) may need to be "rounded up".

2. The final selected base slab dimensions should be verified using the correct concrete
densities, the loads on the toe and other relevant combinations of actions.

Details of the final design calculations are not included in this paper.

Conclusions
It is difficult to generalise about which combination of actions or which limit states are critical
on the basis of calculations for a single bridge because the critical combination is often
determined by the ratio of the bridge span to the abutment height or the ratio of traffic action
to the soil actions. It is however clear that horizontal earth pressures are generally critical for
STR/GEO Combination 1 regardless of the bridge proportions because G for soil is higher
than Ka;d /Ka;k for most realistic values of '. Also, for undrained sliding resistance
Combination 2 is always likely to be critical because M on cu is higher than Ka;d /Ka;k for all
realistic values of ', and it is also higher than Q on surcharge braking and acceleration.

For drained sliding resistance, in the calculations presented in this paper, Combination 2 was
more critical than Combination 1, primarily because the effects of G on the weight of soil
were favourable for sliding resistance and unfavourable for horizontal pressure and therefore,
to some extent, cancelled each other out in Combination 1. It was however apparent from the
calculations that Combination 1 could be critical for sliding for low abutments supporting
long spans where braking and acceleration actions were large and earth pressures were small.

For bearing pressure, Combination 2 was found to be significantly more critical than
Combination 1 for both drained and undrained foundations and as M effects tend to
predominate in bearing resistance calculations it seems probable that Combination 2 will be
critical for bearing resistance in most typical abutments and retaining walls. It was also
apparent from supporting calculations that the limitation on toe pressure at SLS is quite severe
and that in many cases where it is required to be applied, it will dictate the length of the base.
Additional explicit settlement calculations may therefore result in shorter base lengths being
required.

Overturning was not found to be an issue for the abutment illustrated in this paper and
although it needs to be verified, it appears that it is unlikely to affect the proportions of typical
gravity abutments as bearing failure under the toe would normally precede overturning.
T Christie, M Glendinning, J Bennetts, S Denton14

References
[1] PD 6694-1 Recommendations for the design of structures subject to traffic loading to
BS EN 1997-1: 2004, BSi, London, UK
[2] BS EN 1990:2002+A1:2005 Eurocode - Basis of structural design Incorporating
corrigenda December 2008 and April 2010, BSi, London, UK
[3] BS EN 1991-2:2003 Eurocode 1: Actions on structures – Part 2: Traffic loads on
bridges, Incorporating Corrigenda December 2004 and February 2010, BSi, London,
UK
[4] BS EN 1997-1:2004 Eurocode 7: Geotechnical design – Part 1: General rules,
Incorporating corrigendum February 2009, BSi, London, UK
[5] NA to BS EN 1990:2002+A1:2005 UK National Annex for Eurocode – Basis of
structural design, Incorporating National Amendment No.1, BSi, London, UK
[6] NA to BS EN 1991-2:2003 UK National Annex to Eurocode 1: Actions on structures –
Part 2: Traffic loads on bridges, Incorporating Corrigendum No. 1, BSi, London, UK

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