Designing bridges for walkers and cyclists


The Pont-y-Werin bridge connected Penarth to Cardiff Bay, ensuring a continuous cycling and walking route between the two communities

Sustrans has extensive experience of designing bridges and other structures including boardwalks, underpasses, tunnels, ramps and subways.

Bridges and retaining structures, no matter how small, are essential to solving some of the fundamental connectivity issues that restrict non-motorised movement. Structures on traffic free routes need to provide high quality continuity and particular attention needs to be paid to their alignment and design, as well as construction details.

Installing structures can be complicated - even on quieter urban roads a closure is often necessary. There may also be particular constraints when re-using existing structures,  including the presence of legally protected wildlife, such as bats and birds.

Our design guidance covers a range of structures, including:

  • Underbridges and overbridges
  • Headroom, parapets and gradients
  • Design and construction materials
  • Retaining structures
  • Boardwalks
  • Subways / underpasses
  • Wheeling ramps
  • Tunnels


Bridges and other structures (draft), Sustrans Design Manual Chapter 8, 2015 (6.1MB pdf)





Other Sustrans guidance:

Other external guidance:

To discuss how we can help you, please contact our design and construction team.

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