Federal Highway Administration issues new bridge preservation guide
The 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.
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.
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