The Development of Aesthetic Guidelines for Short and Medium Span Texas Bridge Systems

Listavich, Scot T.


The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has been building successful bridges for many years. In addition to their proven economy, safety, and durability, their use of precast pretensioned girders alleviates construction congestion which is typical of cast-in-place construction. It can be said that Texas pretensioned girder bridges represent the state of the art in ways such as economy, constructability, safety, and durability. The only area not extensively explored by the Department of Transportation is the area of aesthetics. Recent strides in bridge aesthetics has shown that improvements in the appearance of bridges not only need not be costly, but can result in beneficial public acceptance of state and federal bridge projects. TxDOT has recognized these benefits and initiated Project 1410 to explore methods of enhancing the appearance of substructures, and bridge systems as a whole.

This thesis describes the preliminary work done on the development of the Aesthetic Guidelines, a manual of techniques for enhancing the appearance of Texas bridge systems. Relevant information was gathered in four main ways: a literature review of bridge aesthetics, building of a photographic database of existing Texas systems, an informal survey of Texan public opinion, and experience gained through work on an example project. This thesis describes the origins and evolution of the Aesthetic Guidelines through the above mentioned major topics and other relevant minor topics. A version of the preliminary draft of the Aesthetic Guidelines is included.

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