AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specifications
|Publication Date:||1 November 2017|
The first broadly recognized national standard for the design and construction of bridges in the United States was published in 1931 by the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO), the predecessor to AASHTO. With the advent of the automobile and the establishment of highway departments in all of the American states dating back to just before the turn of the century, the design, construction, and maintenance of most U.S. bridges was the responsibility of these departments and, more specifically, the chief bridge engineer within each department. It was natural, therefore, that these engineers, acting collectively as the AASHTO Highway Subcommittee on Bridges and Structures, would become the author and guardian of this first bridge standard.
This first publication was entitled Standard Specifications for Highway Bridges and Incidental Structures. It quickly became the de facto national standard and, as such, was adopted and used by not only the state highway departments but also other bridge-owning authorities and agencies in the United States and abroad. Rather early on, the last three words of the original title were dropped and it has been reissued in consecutive editions at approximately four-year intervals ever since as Standard Specifications for Highway Bridges, with the final 17th edition appearing in 2002.
The body of knowledge related to the design of highway bridges has grown enormously since 1931 and continues to do so. Theory and practice have evolved greatly, reflecting advances through research in understanding the properties of materials, in improved materials, in more rational and accurate analysis of structural behavior, in the advent of computers and rapidly advancing computer technology, in the study of external events representing particular hazards to bridges such as seismic events and stream scour, and in many other areas. The pace of advances in these areas has, if anything, stepped up in recent years.