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
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 capacity
- To protect public investment and allow
efficient allocation of resources
- To effectively schedule maintenance and
- 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
- 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.