Drag force is usually exerted on bridge piers due to running river water. This force is calculated empirically based on drag coefficients stated in design codes and specifications. Different values of drag coefficients have been reported in literature. For example, AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specifications uses a drag coefficient of 1.4 and 0.7 for square-ended and semicircular-nosed pier, respectively, while Coastal Construction Manual (FEMA P-55) recommends a value of two and 1.2 for square and round piles, respectively. In addition, many researchers have obtained other different values of drag coefficient under similar conditions (i.e., similar range of Reynolds number) reaching to 2.6 for square object. The present study investigates the drag coefficient of flow around square, semicircular-nosed, and 90 deg wedged-nosed and circular piers numerically using finite element method. Results showed that AASHTO values for drag force coefficient varied between very conservative to be under-reckoning. The study recommends that AASHTO drag coefficient values should be revised for different circumstances and under more severe conditions.

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