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Section 3: Coding Guidelines

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Summary of Instructions

Adhere to the step-by-step instructions for entering the data in the electronic Bridge Inventory File as presented in the detailed instructions for the Code Guide. Follow coding and documentation requirements outlined in this chapter regardless of whether inspections are carried out in-house or by consultants. This requirement ensures statewide consistency in documenting and reporting inspection findings. The Coding Guide also includes interpretations, examples, and other data input guidance. The electronic Bridge Inventory Files contain a record for each Bridge Class Structure on public roadways in Texas. The definition of a Bridge Class Structure is described in Item 112 in the "Instructions for Coding Guide." The data are also used to update the National Bridge Inventory File for the FHWA. Once a year the complete Bridge Inventory files for off- and on-system bridges are converted to the actual NBI format and submitted to the FHWA.

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Multiple-Pipe Culverts

To achieve future consistency in recording information, the following clarifications are to be used for creating or maintaining Bridge Records for multiple-pipe culverts:

  • Do not remove any existing multiple-pipe culverts from the Bridge Inventory File. The installation may already be in the prioritization process for repair or replacement, and the process should not be disrupted.
  • Do not create Bridge Records for any new multiple-pipe culverts that are individually less than 60-inches in diameter even if the total installation, including fill between pipes, is more than 20 feet along the roadway. Inspections of smaller diameters would be difficult to make and the results would probably be of dubious quality. It is also very inconsistent engineering logic to require inspection of, for instance, an installation of five 48-inch pipe culverts and no inspection of an installation of four or fewer pipes of the same diameter.
  • Make and maintain Bridge Records for multiple-pipe culverts that are individually 60-inches or greater in diameter, providing the total installation meets the 20-ft length criterion and the distance between individual pipes does not exceed one-half the diameter of the smallest pipe.
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Data Quality

Data quality for all information kept for each bridge, and in particular the electronic Bridge Inventory Files, cannot be overemphasized. Keep the data in the files as up-to-date as possible. Texas must comply with data update time limits which are set by the Code of Federal Regulations. The Federal Code requires data updates reflecting changes to an existing on-system structure to be made within 90 days of the evaluation or inspection that denotes the change in status. Report new, rebuilt, or rehabilitated structures within 90 days of job completion. The data update time limit is 180 days for off-system structures.


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