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Section 2: Bridge Inspection Program Organization

TxDOT’s BIP organization is structured into workgroups that are distinguished according to employment role and location from which inspection tasks are administered. The different workgroups include the Bridge Division, District Bridge Sections, and Consulting Firms.

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Bridge Inspection Program Organization

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Bridge Division

At the top of TxDOT’s bridge organization is the Bridge Division. The Bridge Division is responsible for overseeing and managing the TxDOT BIP. Priority responsibilities include:

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  • developing policies and procedures for the proper management of the bridge inspection process,
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  • providing support and guidance to the state District Bridge Sections including training, approval of consultant staff for routine inspections, and inspection equipment availability,
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  • managing the Consulting Firm’s contracts for bridge inspection services,
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  • in-house performance of fracture critical and underwater inspections; other inspections may be performed at the Districts’ request (initial, routine, damage, in-depth, and special),
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  • performing load ratings,
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  • overseeing the QC/QA program,
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  • managing the Bridge Inspection Management System (consisting of all bridge inventory and inspection data),
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  • reporting inspection data to FHWA and resolving any concerns arising from that data,
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  • developing and analyzing bridge data for statewide planning needs, and
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  • verification of compliance with the FHWA metrics.
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District Bridge Section

District bridge personnel manage the day-to-day operation of the BIP for On- and Off-System structures located within their respective boundaries. There are 25 District Bridge Sections in TxDOT. These personnel serve as the implementation force for many of the tasks that relate to NBIS and FHWA metric requirements. It is essential that open and effective communication exists between the Bridge Division and District bridge inspection personnel to carry out these tasks efficiently. District responsibilities include but are not limited to:

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  • maintaining and being familiar with an accurate inventory of bridges,
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  • overseeing and managing the Consulting Firm’s inspection services,
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  • assuring NBIS compliance of personnel and bridge inspections/report documentation,
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  • overseeing the load posting of bridges,
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  • implementing and documenting QC practices,
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  • inputting information directly into the State’s Bridge Inspection Management System,
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  • coordinating the assignment of permanent structure numbers (PSNs),
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  • reviewing bridge conditions for recommendations regarding repair, rehabilitation or replacement for consideration by others,
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  • in-house performance of initial, routine, damage, in-depth, and special inspections,
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  • communicating with the local jurisdictions regarding management of Off-System bridges,
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  • supporting District maintenance in-house personnel with bridge maintenance inspections, training, management software support, bridge repair planning, etc., and
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  • performing Provider Evaluations for each work authorization.
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Bridge Inspection Consulting Firm

The safety of highway bridges in Texas depends on the effective management of approximately 55,000 bridges the National Bridge Inventory (NBI). TxDOT does not employ the required personnel to perform the inspection of such a vast inventory. It therefore contracts with private engineering consulting firms for inspection services. Consulting Firm bridge inspectors are responsible for:

A Consulting Firm directly hired by TxDOT through a contract to perform bridge inspections is identified as the Prime Consultant.

A Sub-Consultant is an extension of the Prime Consultant’s workforce. Staff from a Sub-Consulting Firm performs the same services for the State as staff from the Prime Consulting Firm. Staff from the Prime Consulting and Sub-Consulting Firms are held to the same ethical and quality standards as TxDOT personnel while performing inspection work.

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Bridge Inspection Program Staff Requirements

The NBIS have specific qualification requirements for several of the principal players in a BIP. Chapter 3 of this manual, “Qualifications and Responsibilities of Bridge Inspection Personnel” discusses in detail the qualifications, required training, and responsibilities of each of the key BIP staff members.

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TxDOT Bridge Inspection Program Staff

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Bridge Division Staff

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  • Program Manager

    The TxDOT Bridge Inspection Program Manager is a member of the Bridge Division staff and provides guidance and support to all personnel involved in the BIP. The Program Manager has the responsibility of overseeing the operation of the entire program. Regardless of the personnel involved and delegated responsibilities, the Program Manager is ultimately responsible for assuring that the BIP remains in compliance with the NBIS and FHWA metrics.

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  • Team Leader

    A Team Leader (TL) is responsible for guiding an inspection team and oversees the planning, preparation, and performance of bridge inspections. Although a TL may not perform every aspect of the bridge inspection, a TL must be present from beginning through completion of an inspection, be an active participant of the inspection, and must sign the inspection reports. A TL can perform or oversee initial, routine, damage, in-depth, special, and QC Re-Inspections. Underwater and Fracture Critical inspections require specially trained TLs. (See Section 3, “Quality Control,” of this chapter for discussions on Re-Inspections for the different staff members.)

    In addition, TxDOT personnel ultimately responsible for assigning and approving the work performed by a Consultant’s or Sub-Consultant’s staff must meet the qualifications of a TL.

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  • Load Rating Engineer

    TxDOT Bridge Division will employ a professional engineer knowledgeable and capable of performing load rating calculations that determine the capacity and stress limits of a bridge. The Load Rating Engineer will work directly under the direction of the Program Manager at the Bridge Division and will support TxDOT statewide needs for bridge load rating analysis.

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  • QA Engineer

    The QA Engineer will perform statewide QC/QA of the BIP with the goal of ensuring a high degree of accuracy and consistency in the operation and functions of the BIP. The QA Engineer will report directly to the Program Manager at the Bridge Division and will support and work in conjunction with other Division, District, and Bridge Inspection Consulting Firm personnel involved with the TxDOT BIP.

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  • Underwater Unit

    Members of the Underwater (UW) Unit performing underwater inspection activities will be knowledgeable in bridge inspection and skilled in diving techniques. At least one member of the UW Unit will be a qualified TL.

    The Program Manager and UW Unit will ensure that an underwater-qualified TL is present during the performance of all UW Inspections. All underwater inspection personnel will work under the direction of the Program Manager and will support needs for TxDOT UW Inspections statewide. All UW Unit members must have successfully completed the required training.

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  • Fracture Critical Unit

    The Fracture Critical (FC) Unit consists of FC Inspectors and specialized equipment operators, some of whom are TLs.

    The Program Manager and FC Unit will ensure that a fracture critical-qualified TL is present during the performance of all FC Inspections. Personnel performing FC Inspections will be knowledgeable in FC Inspection techniques and will have successfully completed the required training to perform such inspections.

    The FC Unit works under the direction of the Program Manager and supports needs for TxDOT FC Inspections statewide.

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District Bridge Section Staff

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  • Bridge Engineer

    The District Bridge Engineer (BE) is directly responsible for bridge inspection operations within the District. A BE implements and monitors the BIP in a District under the general guidance of the Bridge Division Program Manager. A BE also manages tasks centered around the planning, design, and maintenance of bridges. The BE may function as the District’s inspecting TL and oversees the work of a District Bridge Inspection Coordinator.

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  • Bridge Inspection Coordinators and Bridge Section Staff

    Bridge Inspection Coordinators (BIC) and Bridge Section Staff are personnel located in the District. These personnel manage the day-to-day operation of District inspection activities and perform the same general tasks as TLs. If a BIC is not a qualified TL, these personnel should refrain from performing NBIS bridge inspections on their own and should have a qualified TL oversee the inspection work they perform.

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  • District Team Leader

    Same qualifications and responsibilities as those for a TL in the Bridge Division – See section Bridge Division Staff, Team Leader.

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Bridge Inspection Consulting Firm Staff

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  • Consulting Firm Project Manager

    Consulting Firms that are contracted by TxDOT to perform bridge inspection services must have a Project Manager (PM) on board that is responsible for coordinating with State personnel and for managing the work assigned to the firm.

    A firm that is directly contracted by TxDOT to perform bridge inspection services is known as a Prime Consultant. A firm that is employed by the Prime Consultant to assist in performing bridge inspection services for TxDOT (under the Prime Consultant’s contract) is known as a Sub-Consultant. All communication between TxDOT and a contracted firm will take place via the Prime Consultant.

    The Prime Consultant PM ensures that the inspection work is performed according to the Scope of Services provided in the contract, that this work is performed in a timely manner according to schedules as described in the Work Authorizations, and that the work is of high quality. These performance standards apply regardless of whether the PM is managing personnel directly employed by the Prime Consultant or by the Sub-Consultant.

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  • Consulting/Sub-Consulting Firm Team Leader

    A Consultant TL performs the same tasks for bridge inspection as that described for a TxDOT TL (see section Bridge Division Staff, Team Leader). The inspections performed by a Consultant TL are to be performed consistent with the requirements noted under Attachment C - “Services to be Provided by the Engineer” of the current bridge inspection contract. These requirements are applicable to Consultant and Sub-Consultant TLs.

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  • Consulting/Sub-Consulting Firm Load Rating Engineer

    Consulting Firms providing bridge inspection services for TxDOT will employ a professional engineer knowledgeable and capable of performing load rating calculations that determine the load carrying capacity and stress limits of a bridge.

    Structural evaluation and load rating of a bridge structure will be necessary in instances where a structure has been designed for less than the current design standard or current conditions/deterioration warrants an evaluation and no appropriate analysis exists.

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  • Consulting/Sub-Consulting Firm Underwater Bridge Inspection Team

    Consulting Firms providing UW Inspection services for TxDOT will ensure that an underwater qualified TL is present during the performance of all UW Inspections and that the personnel performing UW Inspections are knowledgeable in diving techniques and have received training to perform such inspections.

    The inspection work will be performed as stipulated in the Scope of Services of the current UW Inspection contract.

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  • Consulting Firm Quality Control Program Personnel

    Although there are currently no existing written guidelines that discuss requirements of a Consulting Firm’s QC Program or the personnel in charge of managing it, a Prime Consulting firm under contract with TxDOT to perform bridge inspections will have a QC Program in place. The purpose of the Consulting Firm’s QC Program is to ensure that the contract deliverables to TxDOT, submitted by Prime Consultant and Sub-Consultant personnel, are of high quality.

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