Solutions for bridges and tunnels

Deliver better civil structures projects with advanced analysis and design workflows.

Interior view of the Daisetsu Tunnel in Hokkaido, Japan

Simplify complexity with advanced analysis and design tools

Bridges and tunnels improve transportation efficiency, connect communities, and reduce travel time by facilitating road, rail, and even foot traffic across physical obstacles such as rivers, mountains, and more. These highly complex structures represent a significant challenge to design teams. Autodesk’s bridge and tunnel solutions provide advanced analysis and design tools, help connect multi-disciplinary teams, and increase design efficiency with innovative workflows based on Building Information Modeling (BIM).

Bridge and tunnel solutions

Cityscape rendering showing digital transformation and connected data

Accelerate digital transformation with BIM for civil engineering

BIM is key to digitally transforming your bridges and tunnels projects. Across the project lifecycle, BIM allows you to make more informed design decisions. With BIM, you can enhance workflows, boost operational efficiency, and decrease project risk—all while meeting the latest industry demands.

Bridge and tunnel professionals collaborating on tablet and laptop

Maximize resources with digital project delivery

Connect people, data, and processes across the project lifecycle in a cloud-based, common data environment. Expand beyond the office; work together anytime, anywhere. With transparent workflows, you can reduce distractions and errors, and increase capacity. And with a centralized source of truth, you can eliminate siloes, improve access to data, generate insights, and enjoy complete oversight.

What better bridge and tunnel solutions can do

Improve your win rate

Use conceptual modeling to create and present design alternatives within the context of existing environments.

Decrease time to approval

Facilitate effective engagement with stakeholders and communities with compelling design visualizations and simulations.

Reduce rework and errors

With connected, BIM-based workflows for all design phases, you prevent loss of data and minimize disruptions.

See how others are transforming civil infrastructure projects

Autodesk products for bridge and tunnel design

Powerful BIM and CAD tools for designers, engineers, and contractors, including Revit, AutoCAD, Civil 3D, Autodesk Forma, and more

Geospatial and engineering BIM platform for planning, design, and analysis

Plan, design, construct, and manage buildings with powerful tools for Building Information Modeling.

Civil engineering design and construction documentation

Structural bridge analysis software

Professional-grade product design and engineering tools for 3D mechanical design, simulation, visualization, and documentation.

Pedestrian bridge across the Liffey River in Dublin, Ireland

Discover advances in bridge design workflows

In this webinar, explore the latest enhancements in Autodesk connected bridge design workflows, and how they can improve your design and project outcomes.

Resources for civil infrastructure professionals

Modern railway arch bridge across water


Smart bridges of the future will be more than just bridges

Due to advanced technologies like BIM, future bridges will expand beyond their traditional purpose and serve as amphitheaters, picnic gardens, art installations, and more.

Debris scattered in the Mississippi River and at I-35 bridge collapse in Minneapolis, MN, August 2007


How modular bridges save lives after natural disasters

Learn how United Kingdom-based Mabey Bridge uses modular bridges to quickly build sturdy spans and offer on-demand infrastructure for disaster relief.

Bridge at dusk with the Shanghai skyline in the background


Start building custom bridge components

Discover how to start building custom bridge components for the InfraWorks-centric workflow using Inventor and Revit, with examples and benefits of each method.

Two bridge professionals collaborating on tablet


Intelligent model-based approach to bridge project delivery

Explore this class to learn how to deliver bridge projects using an intelligent model-based approach and the Autodesk design suite.

Rendering of high-speed train with bridge and tunnel


Accelerate toward the future of connected bridge design

See how the right software tools and processes can help you improve efficiency, reduce risk, and enhance project delivery in the bridge design process.

Explore related industries

Roads and highways

Support each stage of your road or highway project.


With reduced complexity and increased quality, deliver best-in-class rail infrastructure.

Airports and ports

See how Autodesk solutions can enhance your airport and port design.


Empower your transportation workforce to achieve greater resilience and stability.

Let’s talk about bridges and tunnels

Contact us to learn how Autodesk software can improve your civil structures projects.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

What are key factors to consider when designing a bridge?

When designing a bridge, there are several key factors to consider, first and foremost its purpose and function. The type of bridge designed depends on whether it will be carrying vehicular traffic, pedestrians, heavy loads, or all of those. Next, you would consider site conditions, such as topography, geology, and soil type, to ensure a stable foundation and safe construction, and environmental factors, such as wind, seismic activity, and water flow, to ensure the bridge can withstand natural forces. 


In addition, bridges must be designed to handle the expected traffic volume and load requirements, including factors such as the weight and distribution of vehicles, pedestrians, and other loads. The choice of materials used in the bridge's construction, such as steel, concrete, or wood, will depend on factors such as the expected lifespan of the bridge, cost, and aesthetic considerations. And finally the bridge design must prioritize safety for all users, like pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers. Accessibility for people with disabilities should also be considered.

Who uses bridge and tunnel design software?

This kind of software is typically used by civil engineers, structural engineers, and other professionals involved in the design, construction, and maintenance of bridges and tunnels. This may include contractors, architects, project managers, and government agencies responsible for overseeing transportation infrastructure. The software can be used for various tasks, such as modeling, analysis, and design of bridges and tunnels, as well as for simulation and visualization of construction processes and maintenance operations. Additionally, some academic institutions may use these software programs for teaching and research purposes.

What software does Autodesk have for civil engineers building bridges or tunnels?

Autodesk has several software programs that are specifically designed for civil engineers building bridges or tunnels. Some of the popular software programs include: 

  • Civil 3D, which is specifically designed for civil engineers and provides tools for designing and analyzing civil engineering projects, including bridges and tunnels.
  • InfraWorks is used for creating 3D models and visualizations of infrastructure projects, including bridges and tunnels.
  • Structural Bridge Design, available through the Autodesk Architecture, Engineering & Construction Collection, offers capabilities for the analysis and design of bridge structures using line beam, grillage, frame analysis, and finite element techniques, all integrated into one product.
  • Revit is primarily used for Building Information Modeling (BIM) and is often used for designing and analyzing building structures, but can also be used for bridges and tunnels.

What are the key principles of bridge building engineering?

Key considerations for engineers when designing and constructing safe, functional, and efficient bridges include: 

  • Stability: Bridges must be designed to be stable and resist collapse or failure under all potential loads and conditions. 
  • Strength: Bridges must be strong enough to support their own weight, as well as the weight of any traffic, wind, or environmental loads that may act upon them. 
  • Stiffness: Bridges must be stiff enough to resist deformation and movement under load, ensuring that they remain safe and functional. 
  • Durability: Bridges must be able to withstand environmental factors such as weather, corrosion, and wear and tear over time.
  • Aesthetics: While not a strictly engineering principle, bridge design also takes into account the aesthetic appeal of the structure and how it fits into its surroundings.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Bridges must be designed and constructed in a way that is cost-effective, taking into account factors such as materials, labor, and maintenance costs.

What are different types of tunnels and how do they differ in construction techniques?

Different types of tunnels vary in construction techniques depending on the purpose of the tunnel, the geological conditions of the site, the length of the tunnel, and other factors. Some common tunnel types include: 

  • Cut-and-cover tunnel: A tunnel that is constructed by excavating a trench and then building a roof over it. This technique is often used for tunnels that are relatively shallow and short. 
  • Bored tunnel: A tunnel that is constructed by digging a cylindrical hole through the ground using specialized tunnel boring machines (TBMs). This technique is often used for tunnels that are longer and deeper than cut-and-cover tunnels.
  • Immersed tube tunnel: A tunnel that is constructed by building a hollow concrete structure on land, floating it out to sea, sinking it into a prepared trench on the seafloor, and then covering it with a protective layer of sand and rock. This technique is often used for tunnels that need to cross bodies of water.
  • Shield tunnel: A type of bored tunnel that is constructed using a shield, a large metal cylinder that is pushed forward through the ground while workers excavate the soil inside the cylinder. This technique is often used for tunnels that need to be constructed in soil that is too soft or unstable for other tunneling methods. 


The construction techniques for each type of tunnel can vary depending on factors such as the geology of the site, the depth of the tunnel, and the length of the tunnel. However, some common techniques include excavation, tunnel support systems, lining installation, and ventilation and lighting systems.

What are common challenges faced during tunnel construction and how are they overcome?

Depending on the location and geology, the ground conditions can vary greatly, ranging from hard rock to soft soil. This can affect the stability of the tunnel and increase the risk of collapse. To overcome this, engineers may use ground reinforcement techniques such as grouting, rock bolting, and shotcreting. Water can seep into the tunnel during construction, causing flooding and potentially damaging equipment. To prevent this, engineers may use water management techniques such as drainage systems and waterproofing materials.  


Tunnels also require proper ventilation to maintain air quality and prevent the buildup of harmful gases. This can be challenging in long tunnels and may require the use of ventilation shafts and fans. Additionally, it can be difficult to provide safe and efficient access and egress points for workers and equipment can be difficult, particularly in urban areas with limited space. To overcome this, engineers may use temporary access tunnels or shafts. And finally, tunnel construction involves many different stakeholders, including engineers, contractors, and government agencies. Effective coordination is essential to ensure that the project is completed on time and within budget. 


These challenges can be overcome through careful planning, the use of advanced technology, and collaboration between all stakeholders involved in the project.

How do engineers ensure the safety and durability of tunnels over time?

Ensuring the safety and durability of tunnels over time requires a combination of design, materials selection, quality control, maintenance, and emergency preparedness. 


  • Structural design: Engineers must ensure that the tunnel structure is designed to withstand the loads and stresses it will face over time, as well as any potential future hazards such as earthquakes. They use computer modeling and simulations to test the design and make any necessary adjustments.
  • Materials selection: The materials used in tunnel construction must be selected carefully to ensure they can withstand the loads and conditions they will face. For example, concrete is often used in tunnel construction because it is durable and can withstand heavy loads.
  • Quality control: Engineers must ensure that the construction process is carried out to the highest standards to prevent any defects or weaknesses in the tunnel structure. This includes regular inspections and testing of materials and construction methods.
  • Maintenance: Regular maintenance is essential to ensure that the tunnel remains safe and durable over time. This includes inspecting the tunnel structure for signs of damage, cleaning drainage systems, and replacing worn or damaged components as needed.
  • Emergency preparedness: Engineers must also plan for potential emergencies, such as fires or earthquakes, and have procedures in place to respond quickly and effectively.
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