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Section 2: Inspection Requirements

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General Requirements

Inspect each bridge in the inventory in accordance with the current version of the State's Bridge Inspection Manual available at, and record the findings electronically in the PonTex application. Uphold a reasonable standard of care for routine safety inspections, which is understood to imply an attentive visual and auditory inspection aided by routine inspection tools as afforded by routine means of access.

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Tools and Safety Equipment

Routine inspection tools are listed in the FHWA Bridge Inspector’s Reference Manual, 2002, in Section 3.4.2 entitled "Standard Tools." 7 Use hard hats, safety vests, traffic cones, vehicle safety lights, and "BRIDGE INSPECTION AHEAD" or "SURVEY CREW AHEAD" signs for all bridges being inspected. Conduct the inspections with minimal disruption to traffic flow. Notify the District at least ten (10) working days in advance of any work in which any person or equipment will be within twenty-five (25) feet of any railroad track. The District will coordinate with the appropriate Railroad Representative to determine if a flagman needs to be present and whether the Engineer needs to implement any special protective safety measures. Complete, and have certification of completion of the on-line Safety Awareness Course.

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Coordination with TxDOT District

Inspect the bridges within the assigned inspection area only and verify the bridge locations. Notify the District Bridge Inspection Office a minimum of 48 hours in advance with the locations and dates when inspections will be performed. Verify the bridge location on the map(s) furnished by the State. If an error or omission is discovered, correct it by marking up a hardcopy of the map provided by the State and return it by the end of the work authorization. Verify that the coordinates in the database are accurate, meaning located on the bridge. If the coordinates are missing, or not accurate, then collect new coordinates. Collect the coordinates by a hand-held GPS unit and provide the results in a decimal format. Sub-meter, differentially corrected data is not required. An Inspection Team Leader that has been approved by the Bridge Division must be present at each bridge site during the bridge inspection.

New bridges located by the Engineer require approval from the District Bridge Inspection Office before an identification number is assigned, the bridge is inspected, or the bridge is added to the inventory. Create a new file folder labeled in the format established by the district, complete all forms, and input all data required by the NBI to insure a complete and accurate record. Inventory or inspect a bridge that is under construction only with the approval of the District Bridge Coordinator. Do not delete any bridge record from the inventory without prior approval of the District Bridge Inspection Office.

When the inspections are finished, return completed reports to the State within 45 days from the date of inspection. Enter condition ratings and other coding changes, along with reports and sheets as detailed below using PonTex. However, bring to the attention of the District Bridge Inspection Office immediately, both verbally and in writing, the bridges needing special consideration (which includes ANY bridge in which the engineer lowers the condition rating to a 4 or lower, or recommends closure). Notify the Bridge Division Inspection Branch in writing only. If the inspection indicates significant deterioration of any structural element, include documentation such as notes, measurements, sketches and photographs. If there is a recommendation to change the status of an on-system bridge structure (load restriction, revision of an existing load restriction or the removal of a load restriction), submit the recommendation to the Bridge Division as soon as the calculations are complete, but not more than 30 days after the date of the inspection. Include in the recommendation to change the load posting the recommended posting level, the most recent Bridge Inspection Record, load rating calculations, pictures and the as-built plans (if available) used in the calculation of the load posting recommendation. Send the recommendation, along with the supporting documentation, to TxDOT's "Dropbox Service" at When using the "Dropbox", use as the notification email address. Notify the District Bridge Inspection Office by email that a load posting recommendation has been sent to the Bridge Division.

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Email and Correspondence

Maintain an Internet email address and notify the Inspection Branch of the Bridge Division of any address changes. The Bridge Division will use email for notification of all bulletins, policy changes, and updates sent out to the members of the Statewide Consultant Pool for Bridge Inspections. The State routinely will send emails to the Engineer in an effort to keep the Bridge Inspection operations uniform throughout the state.

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Quality Control Program

Have a Quality Control program in place to ensure the work of the Engineer and that of the sub-providers is of high quality. Submit a plan detailing the program to the Inspection Branch of the Bridge Division for review and approval prior to beginning of any contracted work. This program may be reviewed and audited by the Bridge Division on a random basis.

7. FHWA Bridge Inspector’s Reference Manual, 2002.

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