Construction of Footpaths - pdf manual

Much rural travel takes place on local paths, tracks and village roads. These provide
essential access to water, firewood, farm plots and the classified road network.
Communities and/or local government are generally responsible for this network of paths
and tracks. One of the main problems they face is in providing effective water crossings.
Particularly in the rainy season, the lack of an adequate crossing can prevent access to
services, or detours of many km or taking risks, especially by women and children, on an
unsafe crossing.

To provide safe and sustainable crossings, those providing technical assistance to local
government and communities need simple, easily applied guidelines on the selection and
construction of effective water crossings. A manual, ‘Construction and Improvement of
Footpaths and Tracks’4b, contains information on simple water crossings and an introductory
chapter on footbridges but within the context of the manual it was not possible to provide
the comprehensive guidelines needed for selecting and constructing footbridge designs for
specific applications.

This follow-up manual deals specifically with the construction of simple but effective
footbridges for spans up to about 20m and is targeted at local technical persons from
district council staff, NGOs, local consultants etc. who are involved in providing technical
assistance to communities and small contractors in the construction of footbridges.
Although the bridges covered in the manual are termed ‘footbridges’, the designs also allow
for use by livestock, IMT (Intermediate Means of Transport) such as oxcarts and the
occasional light motorised vehicle, for instance a pick-up.


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