Course Summary & Description:
This course will provide the necessary background information required to develop a typical State DOT bridge inspection program ensuring that bridges are adequately inspected to eliminate public safety concerns. All bridges need to be inspected for specific state DOT requirements, within established frequency guidelines, after which completed comprehensive reports must provide action lists on bridge repairs or replacement deficiencies.
The National Bridge Inspection Standards (NBIS), published April 27, 1971, established a program for regular, comprehensive inspection of all federal highway system bridges. Minimum qualifications were set forth for bridge inspectors, specific types and frequencies for bridge inspection were established, and the reporting of certain standard information about each bridge was required. In 1978, these requirements were extended to all public bridges carrying vehicular traffic. A national bridge inspection program has been in place ever since, and state and local agencies have performed bridge inspections in accordance with these guidelines. Because these guidelines remained constant for many years with only minor changes, the bridge inspectors in many states became accustomed to certain methods and procedures and developed certain complacency.
In 1987, when the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) conducted a review of the national bridge inspection programs in six states, a number of shortcomings were found. These findings brought to light a need to improve and enhance the bridge inspection programs in each state. As a result, in August 1988, the FHWA issued revisions to the NBIS. The effect of the additional requirements on state and local bridge inspection programs was significant, changing the way inspections are performed. The Washington State Bridge Inspection Manual has been developed to provide guidance, offer needed technical details, and serve as an information source. The Washington State Bridge Inspection Manual is not a static document. It will be updated to incorporate periodic revisions based on the practices outlined by the FHWA and the state.
This course will provide the needed background information on the bridge inspection process established by the Washington State Bridge Inspection Manual. Like others similar State DOT inspection manuals, it will outline the bridge inspection program requirements to comply with all state and Federal regulations.