Guidelines for the Preventative Maintenance of Bridges

The Wisconsin DOT is in need of a comprehensive Bridge Asset Management System that takes full advantage of preventative maintenance actions to preserve the roughly 13,647 bridge structures in its inventory. On January 11, 2002, FHWA announced that HBRRP funds may be obligated for preventative maintenance on Federal-aid highway bridges under Section 309 of the NHS Act of 1995. Under subsection (d) of 23 U.S.C. 116, a preventative maintenance activity shall be eligible for Federal assistance if the state demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Secretary that the activity is a cost-effective means of extending the useful life of a Federal-aid highway. Preventative bridge maintenance is a planned strategy of cost-effective treatments applied at the proper time to preserve and extend the useful life of a bridge. Therefore, predefined preventative maintenance strategies and project selection guidelines are important for maximizing programmatic benefits. Because timing of preservation maintenance impacts cost-effectiveness, Remaining Service Life (RSL) may be an important eligibility criterion for preservation treatment of bridge elements. The overall objectives of this research are to 1) analyze existing information to quantify the cost-effectiveness of preventative maintenance strategies applied to highway bridges, and 2) recommend project guidelines for doing the right preventative maintenance work, on the right bridges at the right time to be used by WisDOT and other state DOTs for decision-making on the application of preventative maintenance strategies.