Chapter 2: Bridge Inspection Program Overview


Section 1: Texas Bridge Inspection Program

The primary purpose of bridge inspections is to ensure public safety. The secondary purpose is to preserve the remaining life in our structures through the early detection and addressing of deficiencies.

Federal law governs the requirements of the TxDOT Bridge Inspection Program. The United States Code (23 U.S.C. 151) requires the Secretary of Transportation, in consultation with State transportation departments, to establish national bridge inspection standards for the proper safety inspection and evaluation of all highway bridges. These requirements are spelled out in the Code of Federal Regulations (Part 650, Subpart C) and govern the National Bridge Inspection Standards (NBIS) through purpose, applicability, definition of terms, qualification of personnel, inspection frequencies, inspection procedures, inventory procedures, and supporting references.

Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has developed 23 Metrics for the Oversight of the National Bridge Inspection Program. These metrics are a risk-based assessment of the performance of state bridge inspection programs and compliance with the NBIS. Each year, TxDOT's Bridge Inspection Program is audited by the FHWA for compliance on these metrics.

TxDOT's Bridge Inspection Program has evolved since the first formal bridge inspection program in Texas began in 1975. Today, data recorded for Texas bridges exceeds that required by the FHWA. A detailed description of the data recorded is contained in the TxDOT Bridge Coding Guide.

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