Design and Construction of Trail Bridges on Crown Land

a newly constructed trail bridgeThe following standards, guidelines and engineered drawings are for the design and construction of single span trail bridges up to 15.25 m (50 ft.) in length.

The documents, including a set of pre-approved engineered drawings and tables, are provided for the convenience of those wishing to build trail bridges on Crown land. The objective to issuing the standard plans, design aids and instructions is to promote efficient and effective trail bridge design and construction at the forest level.

The documents deal specifically with the bridge superstructure only.

Due to the variable nature of existing individual site conditions (topography, soil conditions, stream flow, etc.) and the intended use, the documents are NOT to be used as the only reference for the design and construction of the bridge. While some guidance is provided in construction techniques for supporting structures, their selection and final construction is on a case-by-case basis to be approved by NR&R staff or supervising engineer. It is important that the bridge proponent work closely with the Department of Natural Resources regional staff so they are familiar with the standards, plans and tables and their appropriate uses.

Bridges on active forest access or public roadways are beyond the scope of this document.

Alternative Designs

Authorized trail groups wishing to construct bridges based on a design other than the pre-approved designs, or to construct multi-span bridges, or structures greater than 15.2 m (50 ft.) in length, must submit stamped design drawings, covering all bridge components to NR&R Area Supervisor for approval. Prior to opening the bridge for use the group will be required to have the design engineer inspect the completed bridge and submit a letter to NR&R stating bridge conforms to the NR&R approved design.


Comments and suggestions regarding content and format of the document are of great interest to NR&R and will assist the Department in updating and improving future editions. Please send comments and suggestions to: Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources Parks and Recreation Div., 11881 Hwy 2, RRI Belmont, NS, BOM ICO

Bridge contstruction standards

Construction Standards for Trail Bridges on Crown Land (PDF)

Construction Standards for Trail Bridges on Crown Land - DRAWINGS and TABLES ONLY