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Section 3: Bridge Inspections by Consultants

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General Requirements

All firms contracted by TxDOT to perform routine bridge inspections must be pre-certified in accordance with the requirements of the applicable portions of the Code of Federal Regulations given in Appendix A. In general, inspections performed under contract to TxDOT for inspection of both on- and off-system bridges will conform to the FHWA Bridge Inspector’s Reference Manual 3, Service to Be Provided provisions in the TxDOT Bridge Inspection Contract, and this manual.

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Routine Bridge Inspections

For routine bridge inspections, the firm must employ an individual to serve as Project Manager who meets the following qualifications:

  • Is a Licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Texas; and
  • Has successfully completed an FHWA approved comprehensive bridge inspection training course.

The requirement for completion of a comprehensive training course will be considered to mean completion of the two-week course presented by the National Highway Institute (NHI) called Safety Inspection of In-Service Bridges4 .

TxDOT requires all Project Managers to successfully complete a mandatory refresher course every four years, NHI Course No. 130053.

The bridge inspection Team Leaders employed by the firm must also be qualified and have:

  • the same qualifications as required for the Project Manager, or
  • a minimum of five years experience in bridge inspection assignments and successfully completed an FHWA approved comprehensive bridge inspection training course, or
  • certification as a Level III or Level IV Bridge Safety Inspector under the National Society of Professional Engineer's program for National Certification in Engineering Technologies5 (NICET) and have successfully completed an FHWA approved comprehensive bridge inspection training course, or
  • all of the following:
    1. 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; and
    2. successfully passed the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying Fundamentals of Engineering examination; and
    3. two years of bridge inspection experience; and
    4. successfully completed an FHWA approved comprehensive bridge inspection training course, or
  • all of the following:
    1. 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;
    2. four years of bridge inspection experience; and
    3. successfully completed an FHWA approved comprehensive bridge inspection training course.

TxDOT requires all team leaders to successfully complete a mandatory refresher course every four years, NHI Course No. 130053.

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Complex Bridge Inspections

For complex bridge inspections, such as those requiring fracture-critical inspections, the firm must employ an individual to serve as Project Manager who meets the following qualifications:

  • Is a Registered Professional Engineer in the State of Texas; and
  • Has seven years of bridge inspection or design experience, including one year of inspection or design of bridges considered as complex; and
  • Has successfully completed an FHWA approved comprehensive bridge inspection training course.
  • If complex bridge inspection assignment includes fracture critical inspections, then this individual must have successfully completed an FHWA approved fracture critical inspection course, NHI Course No. 130078.

TxDOT requires all Project Managers to successfully complete a mandatory refresher course every four years, NHI Course No. 130053.

The bridge inspection Team Leaders employed by the firm must also be qualified and have:

  • Six years of bridge inspection or design experience, including one year of inspection or design of bridges considered as complex; and
    • The same qualifications as required for the Project Manager; or
    • Have certification as a Level III or IV Bridge Safety Inspector under the National Society of Professional Engineer's program for National Certification in Engineering Technologies6 (NICET) and successfully complete an FHWA approved comprehensive bridge inspection training course; or
    • Have all of the following:
      1. 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; and
      2. successfully passed the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying Fundamentals of Engineering examination;
      3. two years of bridge inspection experience; and
      4. successfully completed an FHWA approved comprehensive bridge inspection training course, or
    • Have all of the following:
      1. 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; and
      2. four years of bridge inspection experience; and
      3. successfully completed an FHWA approved comprehensive bridge inspection training course.
  • If complex bridge inspection assignment includes fracture critical inspections, then individual must have successfully completed an FHWA approved fracture critical inspection course, NHI Course No. 130078.

TxDOT requires all team leaders to successfully complete a mandatory refresher course every four years, NHI Course No. 130053.

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Pre-certification Procedures for Consultants

Bridge inspection contracts are developed and monitored by both district and division personnel. Consultants must demonstrate the required minimum amount of experience in bridge inspection, rating, and evaluation. Consultants must have knowledge of TxDOT bridge inspection procedures, requirements, and goals of the statewide bridge safety inspection program.

Consultant personnel must have completed the required training in bridge inspection.

Familiarity with current and past AASHTO specifications is necessary. Extensive knowledge of TxDOT bridge construction specifications, including current and past TxDOT bridge designs is also necessary since many off-system bridges with no documented plans were constructed using TxDOT standard designs.


3. Bridge Inspector’s Training Manual 90, FHWA, 1991.

4. Safety Inspection of In-Service Bridges, National Highway Institute, current.

5. National Society of Professional Engineer’s program for National Certification in Engineering Technologies, National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET), current.

6. National Society of Professional Engineer's program for National Certification in Engineering Technologies, National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET), current.

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