Construction and Engineering

Contact: [email protected] (Mark Braiter)
Origin: CSA
Close date: Oct 16, 2022
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1.1.1    Scope of Guideline

This Guideline applies to the design, evaluation, and structural rehabilitation design of standalone pedestrian, cycling and multiuse bridges in Canada.  The Guideline also includes technical clauses related to geometric design, accessibility, safety, durability and sustainability. 

There is no limit on span lengths, but this Guideline does not necessarily cover all aspects of design for every type of long-span bridges. This Guidelines also covers the design of appurtenances such as ramps, stairs, that are structurally connected to the pedestrian, cycling and multiuse bridges.

The provisions contained herein are to be used in conjunction with CSA S6 as this Guideline is not a standalone design document and will in many cases refer to CSA S6 and other standards and specifications.

For pedestrian bridges not entirely within the scope of this Guideline, the clauses specified in this Guideline apply only when appropriate.  Necessary additional or alternative design criteria are subject to approval by the owner.


1.1.2    Scope of this Section

This Section specifies general requirements that need to be considered when applying this Guideline. The provisions in this Section cover the scope and applicability, design philosophy, terminology and reference publications, abbreviations, symbols and definitions. The definitions in this Section are applicable throughout the Guideline.

This Section also includes climate change provisions and introduces aesthetic considerations.


1.1.3    Bridge users

This Guideline applies to pedestrian, cyclist and multiuse bridges as well as other users of bridges including but not limited to equestrians, skiers, and maintenance and emergency vehicles. The provisions for these other users may not be fully defined within this Guideline. Where provisions for a specific user is not included in these Guidelines, engineering judgement and/or reference to other codes and standards shall be used.


The focus of this Guideline is on pedestrians, cyclists, and users with reduced mobility. Due to the large weight, emergency vehicles should apply only in unique applications and where specified by the owner. Maintenance vehicle loading shall be in accordance with Section 3.


1.1.4    Accessibility

The minimum requirements stated in this Guideline are intended to accommodate a range of users including those with reduced mobility. These may be waived or modified when approved by the owner. Refer to Section 2 as well as local codes and standards having jurisdiction.


Pedestrian bridges located in rural or remote areas may not require all Accessibility requirements outlined in Section 2. The surrounding built environmental should be considered.


1.1.5    Bridge components and types

In addition to Clause 1.1.1, this Guideline is intended for the following stand-alone bridge types (e.g. not structurally supported on, above and below by a highway or railway bridge) and bridge components:

beam type bridges;

arch bridges;

cable-supported bridges;

buried bridges;

pre-fabricated bridges; and

stairs and ramps structurally connected to bridges


1.1.6    Exclusions

This Guideline is not intended to apply to the following:

vehicular bridges which also support designated walkways for pedestrians, cyclists and other non-vehicular users (refer to CSA S6);

underground and buried structures such as tunnels;

bridges, approach ramps, and stairs structurally connected to buildings; and

marine structures, e.g. docks, dock ramps, wharfs and jetties


Adherence to the clauses in this Guideline may not be appropriate for the following bridges without approval of the owner:

bridges located in a back-country setting whose primary users are experienced or where the risks along the trail are greater than the risks associated with using the bridge; and

boardwalks less than 3 meters in vertical height measured as the maximum distance from the bottom of watercourse or ground to the top of walkway and when there are low hazardous site conditions, i.e. no presence of downstream waterfalls, low flowing watercourse, etc.


1.1.7    Coastal and mountainous terrain effects

This Guideline does not specify clauses related to coastal effects (e.g. exposure to sea action and icebergs) or to mountainous terrain effects (e.g. avalanches, debris flows and debris torrents).  For bridges that can be subjected to such effects, specialists shall be retained to review and advise on the design and to ensure that the applicable requirements of other codes are met.


1.1.8    Terminology

In this Guideline, “shall” is used to express a requirement, i.e., a provision that the user is obliged to satisfy in order to comply with the guideline; “should” is used to express a recommendation or that which is advised but not mandatorily required; and “may” is used to express an option or that which is permissible within the limits of the standard.

Notes accompanying clauses do not include requirements or alternative requirements; the purpose of a note accompanying a clause is to separate normative clauses from explanatory or informative material.

Notes to tables and figures are considered part of the table or figure and may be written as requirements.

Annexes are designated normative (mandatory) or informative (non-mandatory) to define their application.