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Bridge Creator

Last updated March 20, 2019 by Bridge_Team HQ tekla-bridge-design-support-ug@trimble.com

Software version: 
Not version-specific
Not environment-specific

Bridge Creator

Purpose and description

Bridge Creator is a new extension for Tekla Structures 2018 and later versions. This tool reads the alignment in LandXML format that can be created by any road or rail design software. When defining the key section, points can be constrained to the road alignment for creating complex shapes, such as bridge decks with varying superelevation. By defining the skew angle, adding start and end chainage for the deck and defining key sections at certain chainages, the bridge designer can create even the more complex double curved concrete decks. Bridge Creator is available in Tekla Warehouseservice for collaboration and for storing and sharing Tekla Structures content

In Tekla Warehouse the content items are stored in collections. Tekla Warehouse includes the Tekla Warehouse Service and the Tekla Warehouse web site.

Tekla Warehouse is one of the Tekla online services.


System requirements

Tekla Structures version: 2018 or later
Environments: All

Installing Bridge Creator

First time installation

  1. Download the Bridge Creator file package from Tekla Warehouse. The file package contains the installer file (.tsep) and an example model, including LandXML demo files.
  2. Extract the file package.
  3. Save the example model for later use.
  4. Double-click the installation .tsep file and select which Tekla Structures versions are to be installed.
More information on how to import Tekla Structures extensions to the Tekla Structures extensions manager here

Installing an new version of Bridge Creator

Before installing a new version of Bridge Creator, you need to uninstall the current version by selecting the extension and clicking Remove. The extension will be removed when Tekla Structures restarts. More information here

Before you start

Understanding LandXML files

For a general overview click here

A LandXML file is a non-proprietary file format, which contains civil and survey information. 
LandXML files can be exported in .xml format from applications like Trimble Novapoint, Tekla Civil, Bentley InRoads, Autodesk Civil, and Trimble Business Center.
LandXML files can be imported to Tekla Structures as reference models. The supported contents of LandXML files are terrain models, line alignments of roads and railways, and rain water systems. The LandXML format extends the capabilities of Tekla Structures to show merged models, including the infra models. Tekla Structures supports the LandXML 1.2 schema and single-precision floating-point format.

The Bridge Creator extension reads alignments (reference lineline between two reference points

For example, if the user picks two points to position a beam, these points form the reference line, and handles appear at the line ends.

Reference lines can be used in snapping in a snap switch.

and road surface edge lines) from the LandXML file. Supports IrregularLine, Line and Curve elements for the horizontal projection of the imported lines and ProfAlign and CircCurve elements for the vertical projection.
When exporting, the LandXML file can contain information that is not necessary for Bridge Creator.
This extension only needs the information to be found in the <CoordGeom> and <Profile> elements in the file.

If necessary, edit your LandXML file to match the following structure:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<Project name="XXX"></Project>
<Applicationpart of Tekla Structures functionality that is developed in order to extend the capability of Tekla Structures but that is not included in the Tekla Structures installation

<Alignments name="Main Name">
   <Alignment name="Line_1" staStart="0.000000" length="92.063034">
      <CoordGeom> Alignment Information here </CoordGeom>
      <Profile staStart="0.013621">
         <ProfAlign name="Line_1"> Profile Information here</ProfAlign>
   <Alignment name="Line_2" staStart="0.000000" length="192.063034">
      <CoordGeom> Alignment Information here </CoordGeom>
      <Profile staStart="0.000">
      <ProfAlign name="Line_2"> Profile Information here</ProfAlign>

In some cases "desc", "oID" and "state" attributes of Alignment element need to be deleted.

For example:
<Alignment name="4935" length="7001.804145978" staStart="0" desc="1 shoulder_left_" oID="" state="proposed">
need to be edited to:
<Alignment name="4935" length="7001.804145978" staStart="0">

Some LandXML files are provided with the installation package. Compare the outputs of your file with the ones provided for better results.

Exporting Alignments as LandXML from Tekla Civil

  1. Create LandXML file containing alignments using Inframodel export (Inframodel is Finnish extension for LandXML)
  2. Select alignments in map view

  1. Select File -> Export file -> Export to Inframodel file…
  2. Selected alignments will show up in Inframodel export window

  1. Give name for the file to be exported and hit OK
  2. To use LandXML with Tekla Structures Bridge Creator edit the XML and delete all desc, oID and state attributes from Alignment elements. The file may have more than one alignment, make sure these attributes are deleted from all Alignment elements.
  • Part of original XML:
  • <Alignment name="4935" length="7001.804145978" staStart="0" desc="1 shoulder_left_" oID="" state="proposed">
  • Part of XML after edition:
  • <Alignment name="4935" length="7001.804145978">

Exporting Alignments as LandXML from Trimble Novapoint

  1. Choose Export to File from the Output tab.


  1. Choose the template: StakeOutLines_RoadSurface.


  1. Select the alignment and the connected road model to export.


  1. Select the features LinearElement and StakeOutStringTopLevel.


  1. On the Location tab in the Dynamic Query dialog: Double click on the Alignment object to open the chainage value control and click on the Pencil tool-button to edit the from- and to chainage values specifying the interval you want to export.


  1. Select the check box for Stakeout, select the LandXML format and click on the Settings button.


  1. In the Settings dialog, choose the LandXML 1.2 format.


  1. Open the conversion rule editor and select the conversion rule: Irregular lines.


  1. Click on the Finish button and select a directory and file name for the LandXML-file you are about to export.


Exporting Alignments as LandXML from Autodesk Civil 3D Corridor

  1. Open a Corridor file.

  1. Go to Alignments / Create Alignment from Corridor

  1. Select first line. A dialog box opens. Avoid long names. Featurepart of Tekla Structures functionality that is maintained and owned by Trimble Solutions and that is included in the Tekla Structures installation

    Line X will be enough to identify the line. Remember in this method the lines order is the selecting order. Try to keep consistency. For example pick lines from left to right. Click OK.

  1. A second dialog box may appear. Click OK.

  1. The alignment data appears immediatly. Proceed picking the other lines and repeating the previous points. The command stays active, there is no need in calling command create alignment from a corridor for every line.

  1. This is the result after creating alignments for all the required lines.

  1. Go to Model Viewview that is represented in the modeling mode

    Model view is available also in the drawing mode and it is represented in its own window.

    . Select Alignments, right click and click Export LandXML.
  1. A dialog box appears. Make sure that only the information needed is exported. In this case Alignments and Profiles. Do not export Superelevation, unclick Superelevation Views. All existing Alignments will be exported with the newly created Offset Alignments. Click OK and save the file.
  1. With a code writer software, edit the XML file. Delete all desc="" or desc="xxx" using Replace command.

  1. Apart from the header, Bridge Creator only needs <Alignment> XML elements which need to include a set of <CoordGeom> and <Profile> elements for every line. In case <Alignment> element only includes <CoordGeom> means <Profile> data is missong and Bridge Creator will not read the file because 3D data is missing.

Accessing Bridge Creator extension

  1. Install Tekla Structures to use the Bridge Designer role. The role is available for all English language-based environments. The Bridges ribbon tab that contains the Bridge Creator extension will be available in Tekla Structures.

  2. If you have downloaded the extension from Tekla Warehouse, the extension will be available in the Applications & components cataloguser interface for displaying or modifying information in categorized lists

    For example, profile catalog and shape catalog are catalogs.

    . Use the search box to find Bridge Creator.

  3. Use the Quick Launchtool that is used for quickly finding commands, dialog boxes, and other functions in Tekla Structures

    The other functions include local content from Tekla Warehouse, for example.

    box in the top-right corner of the Tekla Structures screen to find the extension.

  4. Go to File menu > Settings > Customize > Ribbon and create a button for Bridge Creator.

Project base point and units

  1. Create a project base pointbase point that sets the point of origin for a project if the model has several base points

    A project can have only one project base point.

    before you start. More information here
  1. Bridge Creator is imperial and metric systems ready. Check the model units in File menu > Settings > Options > Units and decimals:

Metric unit system


Imperial unit system


Using Bridge Creator


  1. Insert the LandXML file as a reference. Remember to select the base pointpoint in a model that is used to define a starting point in surveying and that is used as an anchor point in coordinate and height transformations

    A Tekla Structures project can have several base points but only one of them can be the project base point.

    Base points allow the use of another coordinate system needed for interoperability and collaboration. Base points can also be used in drawings, and in reports and templates. Model origin is the default base point in Tekla Structures.

    Base points are also called control points.

    in Location by. It is a good practice to save the LandXML files under the <model>\ReferenceModels folder.


  1. Open Bridge Creator.

The main interface of this extension consists of six parts:

Header: Preset load, Save and Help buttons. XML files containing Bridge Creator presets are saved under the <model>\Attributes folder.
Alignment: road alignment input that is a LandXML file (opens a new dialog box).
Key sections: key sections definition, add (opens a new dialog box), edit (opens a new dialog box), copy, save and delete.
Section Preview: preview of a section at a specific chainage.
Creation: Object name, start and end chainage, interval for triangulation and creation of construction lines.
Footer: OK, Create and Cancel buttons. Use the OK button to create the object and to close the interface. The Create button creates the object and keeps the dialog box open for further editing. The Cancel button cancels all actions and closes the application.


  1. In the Read Alignments dialog box:

Browse to the LandXML file that contains the road alignment.


The table shows all available lines, but only Active lines will be made available for creation of key sections. Only one Reference line can be selected. You can preview lines by selecting the Preview box. Remember to select the base point in Location by.

Note that Bridge Creator is not reading the reference modelmodel which the designer can use as an aid when building another model

A reference model is created in Tekla Structures or in other software and can be inserted to Tekla Structures. The reference model appears together with the model but it is not modified by Tekla Structures. The user can snap to reference model points.

For example, an architectural model, a plant design model, or a heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) model can be a reference model.

from Tekla Structures. Instead, Bridge Creator is reading the LandXML file directly. It is a good practice to keep the LandXML files saved under the Model\ReferenceModels folder. This will help with change management since it is possible to update the objects when road alignment is changed.

Other lines can be made active for later use during cross sectiongeometrical form of a part sectioned perpendicular to its axis

definition. It is a good practice to only make Active the lines that will be necessary for defining the cross section. The Reference line and all active lines will be made available during the creation of the cross section.
Offset, Scale and Rotation can be used in cases when project base point is not defined.

  1. Save the settings.

Write the name of the settings file and click Save.
Note the Key sections area has add, edit, copy, save and delete buttons.

  1. Click the add button in the Key sections area to open the Manage Cross-Section Library dialog box. 

Make the needed changes, name the settings and save them for later use. Access the Help menu at the header of the dialog box.
There are two presaved cross sections as default, the image above shows the Sample (1 ref) template.
You can add, copy or load a profile from Tekla Structures profile catalogcatalog that displays profiles and information on the profiles

In addition to the available profiles in the respective Tekla Structures environment, the user can add fixed or parametric user-defined profiles to the profile catalog. It is also possible to import profiles to the profile catalog.

. The delete and preview window are in the main area of the dialog box.

The image above shows the Langset (4 refs) template.
You can edit the cross section in this area by clicking the edit button at the side of the preview window. It is a better practice to edit the section in the Key sections area of the main dialog box of the extension.
At the footer, click OK to accept the selection, or Cancel to exit without saving.

Select a profile from the Tekla Structures profile catalog and click OK.

The profile will be available in the Bridge Creator Section Library.

Enter a name for the settings file and click Save, then click OK. In this example, Langset (4 refs) was selected.


  1. Editing the key sections:

There is now a key section available. The table for the key section has Chainage/Station for the specific key section, Name of the section, Orientation of the section, Skew, or Cut.
Add the start chainage/station for the section. Usually, this is the start chainage of the deck or object.
Select between Vertical or Perpendicular orientation. This defined if the object is going to be cut vertically to the world plane or perpendicularly to the road profile.
Define the skew of the object. The value is in degrees.
Select the Cut box if the section is a cut section. In this example, the section is a key section, not a cut section.

Here the deck will be cut perpendicularly to the road profile.

After adding the chainage/station value, the section can be previewed both in the Section Preview window and in the model.
Type the chainage/station value in the Chainage box and the Step increment for the preview in the model. Use the spinner to navigate through the chainages while previewing the section both in the model and in the section preview window. Select Keep preview to keep the cyan temporary preview in the model. Select and snap to these lines is not possible, and only supports the user with previewing the sections along the deck before the object is created or changed.

Here the Keep preview box has been selected.

In the Creation area, enter a unique name in Shape name. This will be the name of the object, therefore a good practice is to give logical names to the objects. For example, a model can have more than one deck, therefore the objects cannot be named both "deck". 
Define the Chainage/station for the start and end of the deck, and the interval used for the triangulation. The minimum is 0.20m. This is a value considered during the creation of the object. For objects in curve use 0.20m value. In case the bridge is at a straight path, use value 1.00m to increase the speed of object creation.
When you select the Construction lines box, construction lines will be created along the deck for future use. The interval of these support lines is taken from the Step value, therefore, if the Step value is 1.00m, the construction lineconstruction object that represents a line between two points

will be created even meter along the deck. These lines can be selected and snapped to, and usually used as support. Keep this box unselected during creation to avoid accumulation of construction lines. Use this feature when needed at the end of the creation process.


  1. Editing Cross Section. Select the key section to be edited at the key section table and click edit on the right-hand side of the table. The Edit Cross-Section dialog box will open.

The Edit Cross-Section area consists of the Cross Section table on the top left side. The section preview underneath and New/Edit point area on the right side.
There are four different point types, these are explained below.

Alignment Proxy points are the road alignment points that were made available at Point 3. 
Select Alignment Proxy from the Category list. Then in the Alignment line name list, select the line to be made available at the Cross-Section table. The line name can be kept the same or wildcards can be used for better reading of the points. For example: line "20100_L" is the centre line of the road, therefore CL can be used as a wildcard. Click the add button on the right side of the Cross-Section table. The alignment point will be made available at the table. This type of points are not geometry points.   

Outer Face points are geometry points. They can be added by selecting the add button on the right side of the Cross-Section table and are usually constrained to other points. More about this type of points below. A group of outer face points creates a section. There is only one group of outer face points per section. The number of outer face points needs to be the same when having more than one key section. For example, if the start key section of the deck is defined with 10 points, any other key sections (mid and end span) need to be defined with 10 points. If the number of outer face points is not the same at all the key sections that defines the object, an alert message is shown after clicking the Create button. 

Virtual points are support points that can be used to constrain any other point type to define the key section. These are not geometry points and will not appear in the model or in drawings.

Inner Face points are used to create openings or voids inside the cross section. There can be more than one group of inner face points, grouped by Internal Face. For example: Name the internal face "Face-A" and add 3 or more inner points to that Face, then create another internal face named "Face-B" and add 3 or more inner points to that new internal face. 


Outer Face and Inner Face points can have a Radius value. Define an Outer Face point, and add constrains as explained below. This point location will be fixed. Change from Point to Radius to add a radius to the point.
There are two types of radiuses: Arc Chamfer or...

...Tangent Arc Chamfer.

There are three ways to define the Offset Direction of points:
Parallel with local cross-section coordinate axis. See diagram.

Defined by point pairs. See diagram.

Defined by rotation angles. See diagram.

Each of the above offset direction types have five types of Point Type. These will permit the creation of any cross-section.
Type 1

Type 2+2

Type 3+3

Type 2+3

Type 4

The Cross-Section has information about the category of point, Id, Type, Du, Dv, R, X and Y values.
Select a point in the table to change any values or the order of the point in the table.
The preview box can help during the creation of the section.
Zoom by scrolling the mouse wheel, pan by pressing, hold and drag the middle mouse button, reset by pressing the right mouse button.
Note that the alignment point names are always visible in the preview box. Any other point will be identified in the preview area after selecting the point in the table.    

In this case, the point number 14 has been selected. It shows that is an Outer Face point, Parallel with local cross-section coordinate axis, point type Type 1, constrained to -2.1* Alignment Proxy point with zero changes in U/X plane and -100mm V/Y constrained.
This means that point 14 point is always 100mm below -2.1* Alignment Proxy point. 

In this example, Outer Face point 10 is still a Parallel with local cross-section coordinate axis but a Point type Type 4. It is constrained to Outer Point 10 and 9. Placed always in the middle (0.5=50%) distance for U/X plane and -100 for V/Y plane. 

Outer Face point 6 is a Parallel with local cross-section coordinate axis and Point type Type 2+2. V/Y constrained to Outer point 1 and U/X constrained to Outer Point 5. 

Point 9 is an Outer Face point Parallel with local cross-section coordinate axis where Radius was applied. Is still a Point type Type 4 constrained -800mm to Alignment Proxy point 2.1*, however by choosing radius 500mm and Tangent Arc Chamfer both lines (7+8 and 10+11) were extended and connected with a radius value of 500mm. 

This image shows radius applied into the kerb and underneath of the deck on the start of the cantilever.

Outer Face point 3 has been created to apply circular chamfer into that corner of the kerb. It is a Type 2+2 with V/Y constrain to point 4 and U/X constrain to point 2 and with a radius of 75mm for the Arc Chamfer value.


  1. Add Key sections as cuts

You can add as many key sections as necessary. The Chainage/Station value of the key section will have exactly the required cross-section values and between the key sections, Bridge Creator will interpolate the values.


  1. Add as many key sections as necessary

For a smooth longitudinal variation, add as many key sections as necessary. Create the first key section, then copy it and change the Chainage/Station value and edit the key section. Repeat the process as many times as necessary.


  1. Add cuts to objects along other than main reference line

Use the section Cut option by copying an existing section and selecting the Cut box when an object follows an alignment not parallel in the horizontal plane with the reference line (main line/centre line). The skew value is related with the main reference line while the wing wallplate that represents a structure such as a wall or roof panel

In Tekla Structures, a panel is created by picking two or more points.

In cast-in-place concrete the term wall refers to a concept similar to panel.

follows a line that moves away from that line. Therefore, a 90-degree skew will not cut the object the way expected. Find the 90-degree angle between the along the wingwall and take the angle from that line to the main reference line. Then apply the cut with the value. In this case, for a 90-degree cut of the wingwall in the back of the abutment, a 98-degree skew value was added to the cut key section on the table.


  1. The objects created with Bridge Creator are boundary representationthe way that the information included in a model is represented visually

    solids, known as B-rep or items for Tekla Structures

You can access the list of items in Tekla Structures in File menu > Catalogs > Shape catalogcatalog that displays a list of predefined item shapes

The shapes are modeled using software other than Tekla Structures, for example SketchUp.

. Use caution when deleting items that are not needed. If any object is deleted from this catalog, all the attached reinforcement and associated drawings will be lost. When updating an item using Bridge Creator as described above, the item retains the GUID number, meaning that reinforcement and drawings will still be associated with that item.

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by Redentor Soriano

Does the Bridge Creator incorporate vertical curve?

by Gabriel Neves

Redentor. This very first version of Bridge Creator has no vertical curve capability when triangulating between two key sections. However If the road is in a curve any constrained object will follow that curve. For the curve underneath the deck more key sections are needed to make a smooth triangulation. Another alternative is to create the curve in any road design software and export it along with the road lines to LandXML and use it with Bridge Creator.

by DVStratek

How to edit a point in cross section imported from Tekla Structures profile catalog so it could change to an alignment proxy point?

by Gabriel Neves

Stratek, alignment proxy points come from LandXML file. Those points have x,y,z information along the alignment path while the other type of points have information just related to the specific cross section, therefore other points such as Outer, Inner or Virtual cannot be transformed to alignment proxy points.