In engineering, abutment refers to the substructure at the ends of a bridge span or dam whereon the structure's superstructure rests or contacts. Single-span bridges have abutments at each end which provide vertical and lateral support for the bridge, as well as acting as retaining walls to resist lateral movement of the earthen fill of the bridge approach. Multi-span bridges require piers to support ends of spans unsupported by abutments. Dam abutments are generally either side of a valley or gorge but may be artificial in order to support arch dams such as Kurobe Dam in Japan.
The term may also refer to the structure supporting one side of an arch, or masonry used to resist the lateral forces of a vault. The word derives from the verb "abut", meaning to "touch by means of a mutual border".
Use of abutments in engineering
An abutment may be used for the following:
Types of abutments
There are different types of abutments including: