Section 4: Federal and State Inspection Procedures
The Bridge Inspector's Reference Manual
- The Bridge Inspector's Reference Manual (BIRM)
is a comprehensive manual on programs, procedures, and techniques
for inspecting and evaluating a variety of in-service highway bridges.
It is intended to replace the BITM 90 which
was first published in 1991 to assist in training highway personnel
for the new discipline of bridge safety inspection. BITM
90 replaced BITM 70 which
had been in use for twenty years and has been the basis for several training
programs varying in length from a few days to two weeks. Comprehensive
supplements to BITM 70 have been developed
to cover inspection of fracture critical bridge members, and culverts
are not covered in the BIRM.
- The BIRM is a revision and
upgrading of the previous manual. Improved Bridge Inspection Techniques
are presented, and state-of-the-art inspection equipment is included.
New or expanded coverage is provided on culverts, fracture critical
members, cable-stayed bridges, prestressed segmental bridges, and
underwater inspection. Previous supplemental manuals on moveable
bridge inspection and nondestructive testing are excerpted and referenced.
These supplemental manuals are still valid supplements to BIRM.
Texas Bridge Inspection Procedures
- Inspection procedures
in Texas have evolved since the first inspection program was initiated
in about 1975.
- Data recorded in Texas exceed that of the current SI&A
information required by the FHWA. Texas captures all the required
information plus approximately 50 percent more. A detailed description
of the data recorded is presented in the
- The purposes of bridge inspection are:
- To ensure public safety and confidence in bridge structural
- To protect public investment and allow efficient allocation
- To effectively schedule maintenance and rehabilitation
- To provide a basis for repair, replacement, or other improvements
such as retrofit railings
- To ensure that federal funding will remain available for
bridge rehabilitation and replacement
- Bridges are inspected every two years, but the frequency
may be increased depending on the condition of the bridge. More
detail will be given in Chapter 4, Field Inspection Requirements.
- There are five basic types of inspection, each of which
will be described in greater detail in
4, Field Inspection Requirements:
- Initial Inspection. Performed on
new bridges or when bridge is first recorded.
- Routine Inspections. Those regularly
scheduled, usually every two years for most normal bridges.
- Event Driven Inspections (AASHTO Damage Inspections). Those
performed as a result of collision, fire, flood, significant environmental
changes, loss of support, etc. These inspections are also called
Emergency Inspections and are performed on an as-needed basis.
- In-Depth Inspections. Performed usually
as a follow-up inspections to better identify deficiencies found
in any of the above three types of inspection. Detailed Underwater Inspections
are considered a type of In-Depth Inspection. Fracture-critical
Inspections are another type of In-Depth Inspection.
- Special Inspections. Performed to
monitor a particular deficiency or changing condition. Unusual bridge
designs or features such as external, grouted, post-tensioned tendons,
may require a Special Inspection.