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What is the purpose of providing a barrier around the bridge piers?

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Accidental collision of heavy vehicles such as tractor-trailer with bridge piers is not uncommon around the world. The consequence of such collision is catastrophic which may involve the collapse of bridges and loss of human lives. As such, suitable provisions are made to protect bridge piers against these accidental collisions.

The most common way is to install a crashworthy barrier which should be designed to be capable of resisting the impact of heavy vehicles. Alternatively, in some countries such as the United States, they tend to revise the design of bridge barriers by requiring the bridge piers to be able to resist the collision of 1,800kN static force at 1.35m above ground.

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This question is taken from book named – A Self Learning Manual – Mastering Different Fields of Civil Engineering Works (VC-Q-A-Method) by Vincent T. H. CHU.

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