Bridge analysis, design + assessment

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Olympic Park Bridges L01 and H01

  • Exceptionally slender steel tied arch footbridge with steel plate hangers 

  • Single-span integral highway bridge of composite steel box girder construction

  • Elastic critical bucking and nonlinear analysis

The London 2012 Olympic Park structures, bridges and highways project required the provision of 11 highway bridges, 13 pedestrian bridges, 6 underpasses and many other temporary bridges with spans up to 56.5m. Atkins used LUSAS Bridge analysis software to assist with its analysis and design of a number of bridges on the project including two that required detailed elastic critical bucking and nonlinear analysis. In doing so, Atkins found that existing industry and codified guidance was not always sufficient to ensure that a structure with unusual buckling behaviour was correctly modelled and the behaviour correctly accounted for. 

Footbridge L01

Footbridge L01 crosses Ruckholt Road and provides a pedestrian and cycle link between the Northern Spectator Transport Mall and the Olympic Park. The single span structure is a unique form of construction whose behaviour is a hybrid between that of a tied arch and Vierendeel girder. The arch spans 42m and carries a 5.5 wide steel deck formed from 550mm x 300mm box sections with transverse ribs at 540mm centres. The arch rib is made exceptionally slender by exploiting the overall Vierendeel girder behaviour. 135mm x 25mm solid plated hangers (slats) at 135mm centres provide both lateral and in-plane stability, and also create a striking effect in elevation. The complex geometry required elastic critical buckling analysis with LUSAS Bridge to determine the resistance of the arch and also nonlinear analysis to assess the effects of arch deformation on the rigid hangers and deck.


In plane buckling

Out of plane buckling

Bridge H01

Bridge H01 is an example of the type of integral, steel–concrete composite open-top box girder construction that was used across the park. It is a single-span integral highway bridge that carries a local distributor road over the River Lea in the north of the Olympic Park. It was the first box girder bridge to be erected and opened initially to construction traffic in October 2009. 


Bridge H01 during construction

Bridge H01 completed

Whilst box girders are torsionally stiff when completed they are less so during construction if they are of the open-top type, as in this case. The design of bridge H01 used vertical cross-bracing at regular centres to restrain the compression flange during deck slab construction to prevent lateral buckling, but detailed analysis with LUSAS Bridge indicated that this alone was insufficient to prevent significant second order twisting effects under torsional loading. Atkins' designers addressed the problem and, as a result, updated national box girder design guidance was produced.

LUSAS modelling

Girder buckling

Bridge F02 - similar in appearance to H01

Additional information

  • Paper by Atkins entitled 'Design of the Olympic Park Bridges H01 and L01' describing the technical challenges involved with these bridges can be found here.

  • Article entitled 'Cool Olympic Bridge' in August 2012 issue of Modern Steel Construction can be found here.

  • Paper by the project partners entitled 'Delivering London 2012: structures, bridges and highways' describing the Olympic Park structures, bridges and highways project as a whole is available from the ICE Virtual Library here.

  • Presentation entitled 'An Overview of the Olympic Park Infrastructure' was given by Chris Hendy of Atkins and David Baird of the Olympic Development Agency at Bridges 2012, held in Manchester, UK, 27-28 March 2012.

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