It seems that most bridge are composed of concrete, e.g in Latvia

enter image description here

However, concrete encompases a lot of bridge types:

Most concretes used are lime-based concretes such as Portland cement concrete or concretes made with other hydraulic cements, such as ciment fondu. However, asphalt concrete, which is frequently used for road surfaces, is also a type of concrete, where the cement material is bitumen, and polymer concretes are sometimes used where the cementing material is a polymer.

Which concrete material do modern civil engineers prefer when designing bridges over motrways less than 30 meters above the underpass?

  • $\begingroup$ This question is very broad. It is also the wrong question, since an engineer's favorite material should be the one best suited to the task at hand. The right question should be "when is each bridge type (steel, concrete, timber, etc) most recommended?" But that's also a very broad question. See here for a similar question. $\endgroup$
    – Wasabi
    Commented Dec 11, 2016 at 1:34
  • $\begingroup$ Sometimes it depends on the materials some engineers have the most experience with. On other occasions it the availability of materials and/or the cost of materials. The skills of the construction workforce is another factor. Sometimes the challenging nature of the site or the requirements for the structure dictate what material are used. $\endgroup$
    – Fred
    Commented Dec 11, 2016 at 2:16
  • $\begingroup$ @Wasabi I've edited the question to focus on concrete only. Really, I'm interested to know if it is still mainly portland cement or whether newer concrete types are becoming more popular. $\endgroup$
    – SeanJ
    Commented Dec 11, 2016 at 2:50
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ 99% of concrete structures use Portland concrete. $\endgroup$
    – Wasabi
    Commented Dec 11, 2016 at 11:04
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ It depends what you are talking about, the structure or the decking (the pavement that is driven on). And by concrete , I expect you mean steel reinforced concrete. Concrete has a low tensile strength and must be reinforced to make most structures. $\endgroup$ Commented May 7, 2018 at 17:02

1 Answer 1


In structural situations, portland cement concrete is what is used.

The properties of asphalt change with temperature and it never really "sets". It is a viscous liquid that cannot support long-term loads.

There really shouldn't be any confusion as to what is being described in that chart as "concrete".


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.