Due to a great amount of study by the United States Department of Agriculture Forests Products Laboratory (USDA FPL), there is a significant amount of information about timber panels and beams as well as standard details for timber bridges. Currently, timber bridges are primarily used on low-volume travel-ways, but the same design idea can be applied to larger volume roads as well. Timber deck panels can be applied to superstructures besides timber. Standard details are available for attaching transverse timber panels to longitudinal stringers. The bridges often incorporate crash-tested railings attached directly to the timber deck panels. Generally, an asphalt wear surface is applied to protect the panels.
Timber deck panels are used as an alternative to cast-in-place concrete decks. They provide a driving surface for traffic.
These deck panels have been connected to one another using steel dowels placed in the depth of the panels. Currently, load transfer beams are placed mid-bay between the stringers to transfer the shear more effectively. To connect the deck panels to the steel framing, bolts and brackets are used. It should be remembered that this does not cause composite action.