Federal Highway Administration issues new bridge preservation guide

Posted in: Bridges, Cultural Resources

Bridge Preservation GuideThe Federal Highway Administration issued an updated Bridge Preservation Guide. The guide provides definitions and a framework for state departments of transportation, municipalities and other bridge owners to develop a successful bridge preservation program. This is recognized as an important part of a broader asset management program to address aging infrastructure.

While not specifically geared towards historic bridges, the guide identifies preventative maintenance for bridges in good condition to ensure they remain in active service. Bridges in fair condition can improve through conditioned-based maintenance and rehabilitation. For historic bridge owners, an ounce of prevention (well-timed maintenance) is truly worth a pound of cure (increased service life). The graphic with this blog shows how. Bridge preservation incurs costs, but longer service life means lower annualized costs over the life of the structure.

Bridge condition graphic

The guide also provides steps to establish a bridge preservation program, which summarized are:

  • Identify agency goals and objectives
  • Identify and prioritize bridges to preserve
  • Develop preservation actions and plans
  • Develop performance measures and evaluation methods
  • Dedicate funds, implement, and evaluate projects
  • Monitor and measure performance of program

Bridge preservation is made more cost-effective through use of federal programs and legislation with funds available for certain maintenance and preservation activities.

Mead & Hunt has worked with state DOTs, such as the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, to inventory historic bridge populations and develop effective compliance and preservation programs. This has resulted in a streamlined Section 106 process while focusing preservation efforts on historic bridges with acceptable function and condition. The FHWA’s updated Bridge Preservation Guide provides a foundation for such programs.

Amy Squitieri

About the Author

Amy Squitieri, an expert in historic bridges, helps states and bridge owners balance engineering needs for safety and good function with interests to preserve the legacy of the past. “Success is when an owner can reuse their existing infrastructure in a way that’s both functional and retains important aspects of engineering heritage,” says Amy. She leads Mead & Hunt’s Environment and Infrastructure Group.

Read more posts by Amy Squitieri

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