Subject: Bridge Inventory and Inspection Program
Purpose: To ensure that bridges on Reclamation projects are comprehensively inventoried for ownership and inspection responsibilities, and to ensure that inspections are conducted properly and uniformly on Reclamation-owned bridges.
Authority: Reclamation Project Act of 1902 and Supplementary Acts; 23 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 650 Subpart C, National Bridge Inspection Standards (NBIS), 1971; NBIS revised in December, 2004.
Contact: Maintenance Services Office, D-5700
A. AASHTO Manual. The Manual for Condition Evaluation of Bridges, 1994, second edition, as amended by the 1995, 1996, 1998, and 2000 interim revisions, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).
B. Bridge. In accordance with current edition of the AASHTO Transportation Glossary, a “bridge” is defined as a structure including supports erected over a depression or an obstruction, such as water, highway, or railway, and having a track or passageway for carrying traffic or other moving loads, and having an opening measured along the center of the roadway of more than 20 feet between undercopings of abutments or spring lines of arches, or extreme ends of openings for multiple boxes; it may also include multiple pipes, where the clear distance between openings is less than half of the smaller contiguous opening.
C. Crossing. Any facility or structure that generally meets the above definition of a “bridge” except for it being less than the required 20 feet in overall span.
D. Load rating. The determination of the live load carrying capacity of a bridge using bridge plans and supplemented by information gathered from a field inspection.
E. NBI. National Bridge Inventory
F. NBIS. National Bridge Inspection Standards [23 CFR Part 650 Subpart C]
G. Open to public travel. The road section is available, passable by four-wheel standard passenger cars, and open to the general public for use without restrictive gates, prohibitive signs, or regulation other than restrictions based on size, weight, or class of registration.
H. Public authority. A Federal, State, county, or township, Indian tribe, municipality or other local government or instrumentality thereof (including all water user organizations), with authority to finance, build, operate, or maintain toll or toll-free highway facilities.
I. Public road. Any road under the jurisdiction of, and maintained by, a public authority and open to public travel.
J. Reclamation facility. Any facility or structure that is owned by Reclamation or included as part of an authorized Reclamation project.
K. Type 1 bridge. Any Reclamation-owned bridge that is located on a public road or on a privately maintained road open to public travel.
L. Type 2 bridge. Any Reclamation-owned bridge that is not located on a public road [i.e., general public access to the road/bridge is restricted by some physical device(s) or barrier(s), or through the use of prohibitive signs.]
M. Type 3 bridge. Any bridge that crosses a Reclamation facility and is owned by an entity other than Reclamation (i.e., other governmental agencies, water-user organizations, private individuals, etc.).
2. Reclamation Bridge Inventory.
A. Content. A comprehensive inventory will be made of all bridges that cross Reclamation facilities or are located on Reclamation land (fee title, withdrawn, easement, and right-of-way) that includes the following information, as applicable:
(1) Reclamation feature name (dam name, canal or drain name, and station or river mile).
(2) Road name/number (type of road, i.e., State, County, etc., and route number), and Global Positioning System (GPS) stationing or longitude/latitude.
(3) State .
(4) Owner .
(5) Total length of bridge (per AASHTO definition).
(6) Access restriction, as applicable (restricting general public use).
(7) Inspection entity and frequency .
(8) Maintenance entity .
(9) Bridge type (based on above definitions).
(10) Type of Reclamation land interest (fee title, withdrawn, easement, or right-of-way).
B. Bridge ownership. The determination of bridge ownership is significant for classifying and compiling an inventory of bridges located on and crossing over Reclamation facilities. Depending upon who owns a particular bridge, the following considerations are to be taken:
(1) Public/private ownership. If the owner of the bridge is determined to be a public entity other than Reclamation or a private user/entity, then the appropriate Reclamation regional or area office will send a letter to the owner (certified return receipt requested) providing a copy of the contract, agreement, or other documentation indicating the bridge’s ownership and advising them of the inspection responsibilities that are applicable under the NBIS. Once provided to the owner, Reclamation will no longer be responsible for conducting future bridge inspections and will turn over to the owner all previous bridge inspection reports, as applicable.
(2) Reclamation ownership. If the owner of the bridge is determined to be Reclamation, the bridge will be permanently placed on the appropriate regional bridge inventory, and it will continue to be inspected in accordance with this Directive and Standard (D&S).
(3) Unconfirmed ownership. When ownership of a particular bridge is unknown, Reclamation will temporarily classify it as a Type 1 or Type 2 bridge, based on public access/use, perform all necessary inspections, and perform any operation and maintenance activities needed to maintain the bridge in a safe and passable condition. The responsible Reclamation regional/area office will also be required to determine who, or what entity, owns the bridge. If ownership cannot be determined, Reclamation will utilize all legal methods available to either:
- Acquire ownership of the bridge;
- Convince another user/entity to acquire/assume ownership; or
- Physically remove the bridge in accordance with the Reclamation requirements and procedures related to the disposal of bridges on Reclamation land as maintained by the Office of Program and Policy Services (OPPS), Attention: D-5300.
C. Bridge type determination. The Regional Director, or as delegated to the responsible Area Manager, will determine the bridge type (e.g., Type 1 or Type 2), based on site-specific conditions and factors, such as geographic location, traffic volume and type, etc. As applicable, where it is determined that it is reasonable and prudent to restrict access and use of the bridge by the general public, an appropriate restrictive physical device(s) or barrier(s), or prohibitive signs are to be installed.
D. Inventory maintenance/revisions. Bridge inventories will be maintained by the responsible regional and/or area office, as mutually agreed upon. The inventory is to be reviewed annually, and revised, as necessary, based on policy changes, operational or ownership status changes, results of inspections conducted, or facility reviews/examinations conducted of other facilities.
E. Funding. All activities associated with compiling, reviewing, and revising the Reclamation Bridge Inventory and determining/resolving related bridge ownership issues will be funded with non-reimbursable funds. Up to 50 percent of the funding will be provided directly to Reclamation from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The remaining portion will be provided using appropriated Reclamation funds (e.g., Examination of Existing Structures Program.) The OPPS will request and manage the funding from the FHWA, and will provide access by the regions and the TSC to the funding via specific cost authorities.
3. National Bridge Inventory (NBI).
A. Content. As required under the NBIS, an updated inventory of Type 1 bridges will be submitted annually to the FHWA for inclusion in the NBI.
B. Format/updates. Based on information/data contained within completed or revised “Structure Inventory and Appraisal” forms, NBI data will be submitted by each region (to the Technical Service Center, Attention: D-8140) in the form of a 432-character string format. Consolidated data in this format will be provided to the FHWA for incorporation into the NBI. Initial data submittal will be done in conjunction with the initial inventory inspection of the bridge. Updated inventory information will be forwarded by the FHWA to the respective State in which the bridges are located.
C. Funding. All activities associated with compiling and submitting data for the NBI will be funded with non-reimbursable funds. Up to 50 percent of the funding will be provided directly to Reclamation from FHWA. The remaining portion will be provided using appropriated Reclamation funds (i.e., Examination of Existing Structures Program.) The OPPS will request and manage the funding from the FHWA, and will provide access by the regions and the TSC to the funding via specific cost authorities.
4. Program Management. These program management and organizational requirements apply specifically to those activities related to Type 1 bridges.
A. Organizational responsibilities.
(1) The OPPS is responsible for coordination and promulgation of Reclamationwide policies and program management related to bridge inventory and inspection activities. This also includes interagency coordination with the FHWA regarding program administration activities, assuring adherence to the Memorandum of Understanding between the two agencies, processing the request for annual Public Lands Highway Program funding and its distribution amongst the regions, and coordinating regular bridge inspector meetings, as determined necessary.
(2) Each Regional Director (or designee) is delegated the responsibility for establishment of an appropriate bridge inspection staff/organization and designation of a related program manager (meeting the qualifications outlined in paragraph 4.B. below) within their region. This organization/program manager is responsible within each region for the following:
(a) Implementation of Reclamationwide bridge inspection policies and procedures, quality assurance, quality control, and preparation and maintenance of a bridge inventory.
(b) Bridge inspections, reports, load ratings, and other requirements set forth within the NBIS.
B. Qualifications. Each Regional Program Manager must meet the following qualifications:
(1) Be a Registered Professional Engineer, or have 10 years bridge inspection experience, and
(2) Have successfully completed a FHWA-approved comprehensive bridge inspection training course.
(1) Quality assurance , which includes the use of sampling or other measures to assure the adequacy of quality control procedures in order to verify or measure the quality level of the entire bridge inspection and load rating program under their jurisdiction.
(2) Quality control , which includes procedures that are intended to maintain the quality of a bridge inspection and load rating under their jurisdiction.
5. Inspection Requirements.
A. Type 1 bridges. Bridge inspection procedures must meet all of the requirements set forth in 23 CFR Part 650, Subpart C, NBIS. In general, some of the primary requirements are:
(1) Load ratings. Each bridge will be load rated as a basis for determining the safe load-carrying capacity in accordance with the current edition of the AASHTO Manual. If it is determined under this rating procedure that the maximum unrestricted legal load under State law exceeds the load permitted under the Operating Rating, the bridge must be posted in accordance with the current edition of the AASHTO Manual or in accordance with State law.
(2) Frequency of inspections. Each bridge is to be inspected at regular intervals not to exceed 24 months, with certain exceptions. Certain bridges may require inspections more frequently than on a 24-month interval, depending on factors such as age, traffic characteristics, and known deficiencies. With written approval of the FHWA, other bridges may be inspected on less frequent intervals, not to exceed 48 months. This relaxed inspection interval period may be appropriate when past inspection findings and analysis justifies a relaxing of the frequency to take place. See the NBIS for additional requirements related to underwater inspections; fracture critical member inspections; and damage, in-depth, and special inspections.
(3) Qualifications of personnel.
(a) The team leader or individual in charge of the inspection team will meet or possess one of the following sets of minimum qualifications:
(i) Have the qualifications specified under section 4.B., Qualifications of Regional Program Managers; or
(ii) Have 5 years bridge inspection experience and successfully completed a FHWA-approved comprehensive bridge inspection training course; or
(iii) Be certified as a Level III or IV bridge safety inspector under the National Society of Professional Engineers’ Program for National Certification in Engineering Technologies and have successfully completed an FHWA-approved comprehensive bridge inspection course; or
(iv) Have all of the following:
(aa) A bachelor’s degree in engineering from a college or university accredited by or determined as substantially equivalent by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology;
(bb) Successfully passed the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying Fundamentals of Engineering examination;
(cc) Two years of bridge inspection experience; and
(dd) Successfully completed an FHWA-approved comprehensive bridge inspection training course; or
(v) Have all of the following:
(aa) An associate’s degree in engineering or engineering technology from a college or university accredited by or determined as substantially equivalent by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology;
(bb) Four years of bridge inspection experience; and
(cc) Successfully completed an FHWA-approved comprehensive bridge inspection training course.
(b) A peer reviewer, being another individual or supervisor within the office of the inspection team leader, will possess similar minimum qualifications.
(c) It is preferred that the individual (team leader) signing the inspection report be a Registered Professional Engineer. If the team leader is not a Registered Professional Engineer, the peer reviewer, who will review and sign the report, must be a Registered Professional Engineer.
(d) The individual charged with the overall responsibility for load ratings must be a Registered Professional Engineer.
(e) An underwater bridge inspection diver must complete an FHWA-approved comprehensive bridge inspection training course or other FHWA-approved underwater bridge inspection training course.
(f) Architectural and engineering (A&E) firms and other governmental agencies (FHWA and the Corps of Engineers) may be contracted to provide the inspection requirements described herein. Such personnel conducting these inspections will be required to have the qualifications and experience required in section 5.A.(3) of this D&S. If an A&E service contract is utilized, Reclamation will have a Contracting Officer’s Representative (COR), who possesses similar team leader qualifications, in overseeing the A&E contract.
(g) For quality assurance/control purposes, all bridge inspection team leaders will attend refresher training every 5 years (i.e., an FHWA-approved comprehensive bridge inspection training course.)
(4) Inspection report. The findings and results of bridge inspections will be recorded on standard forms developed by the responsible inspection office. Guidance in developing the standard forms is available from Section 4, Bridge Inspection Reporting System of the “Bridge Inspection Reference Manual,” Publication No. FHWA NHI 03-001, October 2002. The data required to complete the forms and the functions which must be performed to compile the data are contained in the current edition of the AASHTO Manual. Also available for use by the regions is the Bridge Management Software (BMS) database developed by the FHWA and modified for use by Reclamation.
(5) Personnel involvement. The team leader/members of the inspection team for Type 1 bridges will be from the regional office. However, this responsibility can be delegated to an area office upon mutual agreement between the Regional Director and the Area Manager, provided that the area office is one office removed from the operating office/entity (to provide an independent review). The regional office can also request TSC to provide the team leader/members for these inspections.
B. Type 2 bridges. The inspection of Type 2 bridges will follow the requirements established by the applicable D&S governing the Reclamation facility with which the bridge is associated. No separate or formal inspections (similar to that performed on Type 1 bridges) will be performed on Type 2 bridges, unless specifically requested by Reclamation or an operating entity, as applicable.
(1) Associated facility.
(a) The review of Type 2 bridges will be included as part of a Review of Operation and Maintenance (RO&M) examination if the bridges are part of, or related to, an “associated facility” as defined in Reclamation Manual (RM) D&S FAC 01-04 (http://www.usbr.gov/recman/fac/fac01-04.html.) An attempt will be made by Reclamation to review or inspect all included Type 2 bridges during the RO&M examination.
(b) For those associated facilities that include more Type 2 bridges than can reasonably be reviewed/inspected during the regularly scheduled RO&M examination, the responsible regional/area office (as applicable) will coordinate with the operating entity to compile a comprehensive “condition assessment” listing of all included bridges. This listing will indicate the general condition of each bridge using the descriptors of “Good” - no O&M deficiencies; “Fair” - having minor O&M deficiencies; and “Poor” - having major O&M deficiencies. This listing is to be updated and made available by the responsible regional/area office or the operating entity to the RO&M examination team, for their review, prior to each scheduled examination. These descriptive assessments and/or pertinent observations relating to these bridges will be included in the corresponding RO&M Examination Report for that particular associated facility. A more thorough inspection will be required of any of the bridges designated as being in “Poor” condition.
(c) Where a more thorough bridge inspection is required, it will be at the discretion of the responsible area/regional office, as applicable, to determine whether the inspection will be conducted as part of the RO&M examination under the authority of RM D&S FAC 01-04 (http://www.usbr.gov/recman/fac/fac01-04.html), or if the inspection requires a qualified bridge inspector. If conducted by a qualified bridge inspector, the results of this follow-up (special) bridge inspection will be documented in a report format similar to that used for Type 1 bridges.
(2) High- and significant-hazard dam.
(a) The review of Type 2 bridges will be included as part of both the Periodic Facility Review (PFR) and Comprehensive Facility Review (CFR), if the bridges in question are part of, or related to, a high- or significant-hazard dam as defined in Reclamation’s Safety Evaluation of Existing Dams Program. Since these bridges are typically an integral part of the dam’s spillway structure, a review of its condition during both the PFR and CFR is to be included.
(b) All observations, results, and recommendations relating to these bridges will be included in both the corresponding PFR and CFR reports for that particular dam.
(c)Where a more thorough bridge inspection is required, it will be at the discretion of the responsible area/regional office, as applicable, to determine whether the inspection will be conducted as an “associated facility” during the PFR or CFR under the authority of RM D&S FAC 01-04 (http://www.usbr.gov/recman/fac/fac01-04.html), or if the inspection requires a qualified bridge inspector. If conducted by a qualified bridge inspector, the results of this follow-up (special) bridge inspection will be documented in a report format similar to that used for Type 1 bridges.
(3) Power facility.
(a) In certain situations, the review of Type 2 bridges may be included as associated facilities in conjunction with the conducting of a Power Review of Operations and Maintenance (PRO&M) examination, if the bridges in question are part of, or related to, an appropriate power facility, as outlined in RM D&S FAC 04-01 (http://www.usbr.gov/recman/fac/fac04-01.pdf).
(b) If applicable, all observations, results, and recommendations relating to these bridges will be included as associated facilities in the facility’s PRO&M report.
(c) Where a more thorough bridge inspection is required, it will be at the discretion of the responsible area/regional office, as applicable, to determine whether the inspection will be conducted as an “associated facility” during the PRO&M review under the authority of RM D&S FAC 01-04 (http://www.usbr.gov/recman/fac/fac01-04.html), or if the inspection requires a qualified bridge inspector. If conducted by a qualified bridge inspector, the results of this follow-up (special) bridge inspection will be documented in a report format similar to that used for Type 1 bridges.
C. Type 3 bridges. The inspection requirements for these bridges will be determined by the owner or responsible entity. Reclamation’s only required involvement with these bridges will be:
(1) Notification of condition. If the condition of a Type 3 bridge is known to threaten the operation of a Reclamation facility or if the bridge presents an immediate danger to the public or operating personnel, notification is to be promptly given to the responsible owner or entity for their attention and correction.
D. Crossings. Reclamation-owned crossings, whether open to public travel or not, are not required to be inspected and reported on similar to Type 1 or 2 bridges, unless their design and existence, as determined by the responsible regional/area office, presents a significant hazard to the public or operating personnel (e.g., 18-foot span with steep abutment dropoff.) Crossings generally will be inspected and reported on as a feature of the facility that it is crossing. Crossing information is not required to be submitted for inclusion in the NBI.
6. Funding for Inspections.
A. Type 1 bridges. Funding for all inspection activities related to Type 1 bridges will be funded with non-reimbursable funds. Up to 50 percent of the funding will be provided directly to Reclamation from the FHWA. The remaining portion will be provided using appropriated Reclamation funds (e.g., Examination of Existing Structures Program.) The Office of Program and Policy Services will request and manage the funding from the FHWA, and will provide access by the regions and the TSC to the funding via specific cost authorities.
B. Type 2 bridges. Funding for all evaluation and inspection activities related to Type 2 bridges will be consistent with the funding for the related review (PFR, CFR, RO&M, and PRO&M) the evaluation/inspection is associated with, as provided for in the applicable D&S for that review. Funding provided by FHWA is not to be used for Type 2 bridge inspection activities.
C. Type 3 bridges. Reclamation has no funding responsibility associated with the inspection of Type 3 bridges.
D. Crossings. Funding for Reclamation-owned crossing inspections will be the same as that for the inspection of the feature that it is crossing.
7. Transferred O&M Bridge Responsibilities/Status.
A. Notification letter to operating entities. By formal letter, each regional/area office will inform operating entities (under their jurisdiction) of Reclamation’s bridge inspection responsibilities. The formal letter will consider the inclusion of the following, as applicable:
(1) Information regarding Reclamation’s bridge inspection program and requirements.
(2) A listing of all confirmed Type 1 and 2 bridges that the operating entity is currently responsible for operating and maintaining.
(3) A request asking the operating entity to submit a list of current bridges necessary for O&M or local landowner access and which Type 1 bridges should be restricted for the purpose of reclassification as Type 2 bridges.
(4) A request asking the operating entity to submit a list of bridges it believes are unnecessary for O&M or local landowner access and any recommendations regarding removing, selling, or transferring title.
(5) Notification that the operating entity is responsible for implementing any access restrictions, in addition to resolving any formal recommendations regarding bridges in order to safeguard employees and the general public. Any such restrictions or improvements are to be subject to the approval of Reclamation. If upgraded, improved, or restricted, the bridge will then be considered for re-categorization and inspected as outlined within this D&S.
(6) Notification of Reclamation’s inspection schedule related to Type 1 bridges on related project facilities, in accordance with the NBIS.
(7) Notification of Reclamation’s intent to conduct periodic evaluations of Type 2 bridges on related project facilities as part of regularly scheduled reviews of related facilities (e.g., facility reviews of dams and RO&M examinations of associated facilities). If applicable (e.g., more bridges than practicable to review during the regularly scheduled RO&M examination), notification that Reclamation will work with the operating entity to compile a comprehensive “condition assessment” listing of all included bridges, as described in 5.B.(1)(b) of this D&S.
B. Bridges designated as unnecessary. Certain bridges will require special attention to determine or verify ownership and their necessity, possibly requiring significant time and resources for resolution. If a bridge is determined to be unnecessary for O&M access by the responsible operating entity (as identified in a response to 7.A.(4) above), then Reclamation will consider each bridge and:
(1) Formally justify the necessity of the bridge to the operating entity, and retain ownership of the bridge, or
(2) Transfer ownership/title of the bridge to the operating entity, or
(3) Negotiate the terms of, and complete, a transfer or sale of the bridge to a private landowner or other entity if desired, or
(4) Demolish or otherwise permanently remove the bridge from service. No bridge is to be abandoned in place.
(For items (2), (3), and (4) above, refer to the OPPS, Attention: D-5300, for Reclamation requirements and procedures related to disposal of bridges that are not needed for project purposes.)
C. Historic bridges. Any action (including title transfer, sale, or removal) to be taken on a bridge considered to be “historic” requires consideration under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. Refer to RM D&S LND 02-01 on Cultural Resources for further information and requirements.
8. O&M Recommendations Resulting from Inspections.
A. Categorizing . Recommendations resulting from the inspection of Type 1 or Type 2 bridges will be categorized according to the three recommendation categories established under the existing Facility Review, Associated Facility RO&M, and Power RO&M Programs.
B. Reporting/tracking. All Category 1 and 2 recommendations resulting from the inspection of Type 1 or Type 2 bridges will be entered and maintained within the Dam Safety Information System, the Power Review Information System, or a similar system, where applicable, for tracking purposes.
C. Funding of recommended work. Unless otherwise allowed, the work involved with completing the O&M recommendations resulting from the inspection of Type 1 and Type 2 bridges will be funded as a project O&M activity, in accordance with current project O&M allocations, unless existing contract language cites otherwise.