Better Bridges 2010 Bridge Inventory
For the Georgia DOT, the stimulus didn’t supplement the agency at all because “[we] did not have plans on the shelf,” says Mike Clements, state bridge maintenance engineer with the Georgia DOT.
Eric J. Christie, assistant state maintenance engineer for bridges at the Alabama DOT, answered “no” when asked whether the state expects to be able to lower its rate of deficient bridges in the coming year.
Better Roads asked that with all the funding uncertainty, what major overhauls can be made to the system of planning, building and maintaining bridges in the nation at the federal state and local level?
The answer is continued and consistent funding, with the flexibility to address the most critical needs, says the Oklahoma DOT. Paul Santo, bridge design engineer with the Hawaii DOT, says there needs to be “more funding at all levels.”
Jeff C. Vigil, state bridge management engineer for the New Mexico DOT, says that “funding needs to be given to local bridges and lower-priority highway bridges on the state and federal system.” In addition to funding, though, Vigil notes, “more preventative bridge maintenance funding would greatly keep bridge future funding needs down.”
Louisiana DOT’s Bridge Engineer Manager Ray Mumphrey also agrees that more money needs to be spent on maintenance. TxDOT’s Kowalik says a dedicated bridge maintenance fund should be developed.
Other major overhauls suggested are the expansion of eligible work under the Highway Bridge Program (HBP) and considering the bridge development timetable so it’s reflected in future legislation. In overhauling the nation’s bridge program at the federal, state and local level, “uniformity in rules and a more streamlined process for the bridge program” should also be considered, says Cody Axlund, bridge inventory/inspection engineer for the South Dakota DOT.
Where and how could the nation even begin to implement these ideas and overhaul the planning, building and maintenance system for bridges, asked the survey?
Ahmad, with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), recommends developing a strategic approach at the federal, state and local levels “to deliver the most reliable bridge inventory in the world.”
The strategic approach can be accomplished, Anwar says, by dedicating adequate and sustained funding and resources to three distinct programs. He suggests a preventive/preservation program, a rehabilitation program, and a replacement program.
“The three programs should be based on life cycle and assets management principles,” Anwar advises. “Develop policies and processes around these programs that ensure consistency in measuring the effectiveness of these programs.”
Q and A
If you could change any aspect of your department to improve your bridges, what would it be?
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