Bridge inspection programThrough the Bridge Inspection Program, crucial data for each bridge is gathered. General data such as the bridge location; the member’s types, materials, and sizes; and the bridge spans and widths does not change from report to report.
The condition of the bridge members, however can and does change from report to report. This is the most important part of the report. It must be carefully reviewed to determine if and where any changes have occurred. These inspections are conducted every two years to track the rate of deterioration and to find any surprise changes before they can affect the safety of the bridge.
Bridge management programThe next step is to analyze the data and the recommendations in the bridge inspection reports. Some bridges only have a few minor repair items. These repair items are prioritized on the severity of the individual repair. Other bridges may have multiple repair items. These are the bridges that may be considered candidates for rehabilitation or replacement.
The Bridge Management Program is a tool that is used to analyze and prioritize those bridges with multiple issues for rehabilitation or replacement. It takes information from the Bridge Inspection Program (such as the structural condition of deck, superstructure and substructure; scour condition; lane widths; average daily traffic; approach road condition; waterway adequacy; and the bridge posting) and computes a single numerical rating for each bridge in the county.
This rating gives a starting point for choosing the bridges to be rehabilitated or replaced. Other factors such as the historical status of the bridge, or that the bridge provides the only access to a community, are not considered in the computer program. These factors can be more important than the input data and override the computer generated priorities. Therefore, the Bridge Management output must always be considered as a first cut tool, not an absolute rating.