Research for AASHTO Standing Committee on Highways. Task 337. Proposed AASHTO Guidelines for Complex Bridge Inspection

The National Bridge Inspection Standards (NBIS) define complex bridges as movable, suspension, cable stayed, and other bridges with unusual characteristics.  The AASHTO Manual for Bridge Evaluation (MBE), Section 4.9 Special Structures, provides guidance on bridge inspection requirements for special structure types such as movable bridges, suspension bridges, cable stayed bridges. These are some examples of structure types considered to be complex bridges. By definition, complex bridges are structure types with unusual characteristics. Complex bridges are usually subject to specialized inspection procedures, additional inspector training and experience may be required to inspect complex bridges. Under the NBIS regulations, states are required to identify complex structures, develop the inspection procedures, and inspector training and experience requirements for these structures. Complex bridges are inspected according to those procedures. Complex bridge inspection requirements, procedures, and inspector qualifications are usually contained in the Bridge Inspection Manuals published by the owner or in their state regulations. Due to the limited guidance in the MBE and NBIS, owners have developed their own complex bridge inspection program requirements to fill this need and meet the NBIS requirements. This results in wide variability among the procedures with respect to the level of detail, inspection rigor, and training requirements.   A complex bridge is a bridge that because of its intricacy may require a significantly greater inspection effort than could be accomplished on a normal routine inspection. These inspections require greater engineering knowledge and/or expertise to accurately and fully determine the condition of the various bridge elements. They also may require specialized equipment or climbing to access all parts of the bridge.   There is an immediate need for additional guidance on complex bridge inspections. CFR 650.313 (f) – requires that agencies have specialized inspection procedures, and additional inspector training and experience required to inspect complex bridges. Instead of each state developing their own procedures for these types of bridges, it would be best to develop general procedures that can be used by all the states.    The objective of this research was to develop guidelines for complex bridge inspection to support State DOTs in preparing their own complex bridge inspection procedures that will comply with Metric 19 of FHWA’s 23 Metrics. The proposed guidelines with commentary are intended to be incorporated into the Section 4 of the AASHTO Manual for Bridge Evaluation or be presented as a stand-alone supplement to the AASHTO Manual for Bridge Evaluation.


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  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $100000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-07, Task 337

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW, Suite 225
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Project Managers:

    Dekelbab, Waseem

  • Performing Organizations:

    HDR Engineering, Incorporated

  • Principal Investigators:

    Leshko, Brian

  • Start Date: 20130807
  • Expected Completion Date: 20150106
  • Actual Completion Date: 20150106
  • Source Data: RiP Project 37839

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01543907
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-07, Task 337
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Nov 23 2014 1:00AM