Boardwalk Design Process - How to Evaluate Live Loading Requirements

Posted on December 1, 2022

If you are designing a commercial boardwalk system, you'll need to first determine the code-required live loading. Design codes will provide guidance on pedestrian and vehicular loading.

Most times for our concrete boardwalk system, our engineering team designs per the AASHTO LRFD Guide Specifications for Design of Pedestrian Bridges. Per this guide, the pedestrian loading is 90 pounds per square foot (psf), while vehicular loading can be a small vehicle up to a H-10 truck (20,000 lb. vehicle). Other live load considerations that may apply are seismic, wind, equestrian, hydraulic, construction live loads, and more. You'll need to consider these before specifying your live load requirements. Please feel free to give us a call with any specific questions! 

Key Takeaways:

  • Pedestrian live loads range from 60-100 pounds per square foot (psf).
  • For wider walkways, such as observation piers, you may have to design for 100-250 psf.
  • As the boardwalk gets even wider, you may have to design for vehicular loading, whether that's a maintenance vehicle, a small pickup truck, or an emergency vehicle.
  • If your boardwalk clear width is 7 to 10 feet wide, the AASHTO LRFD Guide Specifications for Design of Pedestrian Bridges requires it to be designed for an H-5 truck (10,000 lb. vehicular load). If your boardwalk clear width is over 10 feet wide, code requires it to be designed for an H-10 truck (20,000 lb. vehicular load). 
  • Details are available to address the following heaving and uplift concerns: high seismic areas, wind, floodplains, coastal areas, and other environmental situations such as expansive soils.

Related Articles:
Guide to Commercial Boardwalk Design  
Boardwalk Design: Foundations  
Video: Commercial Boardwalk Cost and Design Information  
How Can I Design a Concrete Boardwalk for Uplift Forces? 

Topics: Boardwalk Design