# Truss Bridges on Curves

When it is necessary to locate a truss bridge on a curve, designers should give special consideration to truss spacing, location of bridge centerline, and stresses.
For highway bridges, location of bridge centerline and stresses due to centrifugal force are of special concern. For through trusses, the permissible degree of curvature is limited because the roadway has to be built on a curve, while trusses are planar, constructed on chords. Thus, only a small degree of throw, or offset from a tangent, can be tolerated.
Regardless of the type of bridge, horizontal centrifugal forces have to be transmitted through the floor system to the lateral system and then to supports.
For railroad truss bridges, truss spacing usually provides less clearance than the spacing for highway bridges. Thus, designers must take into account tilting of cars due to superelevation  and the swing of cars overhanging the track. The centerline of a through-truss bridge on a curve often is located so that the overhang at midspan equals the overhang at each span end. For bridges with more than one truss span, layout studies should be made to determine the best position for the trusses.
Train weight on a bridge on a curve is not centered on the centerline of track. Loads are greater on the outer truss than on the inner truss because the resultant of weight and centrifugal force is closer to the outer truss. Theoretically, the load on each panel point would be different and difficult to determine exactly. Because the difference in loading on inner and outer trusses is small compared with the total load, it is generally adequate to make a simple calculation for a percentage increase to be applied throughout a bridge.
Stress calculations for centrifugal forces are similar to those for any horizontal load.
Floorbeams, as well as the lateral system, should be analyzed for these forces.

Scroll to Top