Steel sheet piles are often used to support excavations for bridge foundations. When they are left in place in the permanent works, they have the potential to increase foundation bearing capacity and reduce displacements; but their presence is not usually taken into account in foundation design. In this article, the results of finite element analysis of a typical abutment foundation, with and without cover of sheet piles, are presented to demonstrate these effects. The structure described is located over the Więceminka river in the town of Kołobrzeg, Poland. It is a single-span road bridge with reinforced concrete slab.