Powerful, Adaptive, Collaborative Bridge Design

Annie Phan August 17, 2020

3 min read


The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)’s Infrastructure Report Card rates U.S. bridges a “C+” a score that may not be surprising for professionals in bridge design. According to the ASCE, many of the nation’s bridges need replacing or repairing, with around 188 million trips being made each day across structurally deficient bridges.  

To raise the grade, innovation in technology is needed to make the bridge design process more efficient, cost-effective and collaborative. At Autodesk, we have focused on developing the software tools and processes that can help bridge design professionals achieve these goals. 

Our newly released, enhanced bridge design workflow provides a means for bridge professionals to rapidly develop multiple design options through the use of powerful, parametric modeling technology and progress those designs with automated documentation production systems bringing further efficiency gains to the bridge design community. The Autodesk bridge design workflow enables: 

Starting in Civil 3D, the road geometry is used to create the initial bridge. InfraWorks creates the bridge along the alignment. You can then interact directly with the bridge structure, changing the individual components of the bridge using the parametric toolset.  

Spreadsheets, be generated, edited, and then used to update the model, saving time on repetitive tasks or where geometry may depend on formulas.  

During the optioneering phase, integrated analysis and design tools help identify workable solutions in a clear and easy to understand format, providing detailed calculations for the girder design.  

At the detailed design stage, a hybrid or full finite element model can be produced automatically. When changes are made in Civil 3D, these changes can be accommodated by refreshing the Civil 3D data source within InfraWorks. The bridge structure will automatically rebuild parametrically.  

The bridge structure can be published to Revit at any time with a new transfer process giving additional flexibility in the use of customized Revit templates and category mapping features providing reports based on mapped category bridge parts.  

Work in Revit can continue concurrently with bridge modeling in InfraWorks, carrying out detailed modeling tasks such as rebar detailing and the creation of sheet sets for general arrangements and details, including automated labeling for the alignment, which now travels through the entire workflow from Civil 3D, through InfraWorks, to Revit. It is also possible to bring the bridge model back into Civil 3D to assist with grading tasks and to create further documentation.  

New capabilities in the recently released 2021.1 versions of Civil 3D, InfraWorks, and Revit continue to drive a more complete solution for complex bridge design. 

New in Civil 3D 2021.1: Generic Object Layer Support  

Civil 3D 2021.1 now supports the ability to assign layers for generic bridge object subtypes and the ability to configure layers for an existing bridge. These updates provide more flexibility in managing and visualizing bridge components in Civil 3D. 

New in InfraWorks (2021.1): 

There are a number of updates in InfraWorks (2021.1) bolstering the performance of the bridge design workflow.  

New advanced refined analysis techniques are now available to provide engineers the ability to develop bridge design from the preliminary stage to structural analysis and component design with the use of Autodesk Structural Bridge Design

We also introduced automatic modeling of steel cross frames and diaphragms and adaptive modeling features in InfraWorks (2021.1), reducing time and improving design efficiency through automation.  

New in Revit 2021.1: 

As mentioned before, bridge designers can use Revit for detailed design work. Revit 2021.1 enables users to import and document bridge designs more reliably when working from InfraWorks to Revit with 2D and 3D alignment displays and new civil units. 

Watch the playlist to learn more about all of the enhancements to Autodesk’s bridge design workflow. 

Then, view the action live! Join our free live webinars where established bridge design expert, Ara Ashikian, will talk about the benefits of our bridge design workflow, show a live demo, and answer your questions. Register now for our August 25th webinar. 


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