The Structural Design Office is responsible for the preliminary design, final design and detailing of structures and for the approval of Shop Drawings during construction as well as structural solutions occasioned by changed conditions found during construction. It is responsible for the direction and oversight of a highly skilled, experienced staff as well as consultants employed by the Tennessee Department of Transportation. On average this office produces designs for 120 bridges annually, of which 95 percent are done by staff designers, and the remaining five percent with the aid of consultants.
The bridge designs produced by this office include both concrete and steel girder bridges over roadways, railroads, and waterways. Designs for retaining walls, box culverts, noise barrier walls and other miscellaneous structures are also the responsibility of this office.
Some of the innovative ideas used by the Structural Design Sections include:
- Continuous bridges with minimal or no expansion joints for concrete decks
- Design and retrofit of bridges in high risk earthquake zones to minimize damage
- Bent caps designed integral with the superstructure
- Pre-stressed Concrete bridges made continuous for live loads
- Post Tensioned bridges
- High Performance Steel bridges
- High Performance Concrete bridges
- Implementation of the Load and Resistance Factor Design (LRFD) method for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), including trial designs.
The mission of the Structural Design Section is to provide safe and economical structures for the traveling public.