More Detailed Data Strengthens Bridge Inspection Program: FHWA
The agency has moved from having inspectors give one overall score to a bridge's deck to a system where each square foot of the bridge deck and other elements, such as the joint seals, receives a separate rating.
The Federal Highway Administration has begun collecting more data from state DOTs to enhance its oversight of the National Bridge Inspection Program, according to a June 12 post to DOT's Fast Lane blog. It describes a new system being used to give bridge inspectors more precise data about a bridge's condition.
State DOTs began providing the additional data in April, according to the post, which says the nation has "a tremendous repair backlog due to chronic underfunding and one in every four U.S. bridges needs some type of improvement."
Previously, bridge inspectors gave one overall score to rate the condition of a bridge's deck, reflecting both the severity of a problem and the degree to which it was widespread or confined to a small area. The new system gives a separate rating to each square foot of the bridge deck as well as its other elements, such as the joint seals.
Dividing bridge components into smaller elements ensures that engineers understand the extent of bridge deterioration, according to DOT.