Section 4: Routine Inspections

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Routine inspections are those regularly scheduled, performed, and recorded in accordance with all the procedures described in Chapter 8 of this manual, Bridge Records and the Coding Guide. Conduct these inspections every twenty-four months for most bridges, and every forty-eight months for some concrete culverts. Some bridges need more frequent inspections when conditions warrant. Criteria for the 48-month inspections of concrete box culverts is given in the Coding Guide3.

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Inspection Equipment

The equipment needed for routine bridge inspections usually includes the following:

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  • Cleaning tools including wire brushes, screwdrivers, brushes, scrapers.
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  • Inspection tools including pocket knife, ice pick, hand brace, bit, and increment borer for boring timber elements, and chipping hammer.
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  • Visual aid tools including binoculars, flashlight, magnifying glass, dye penetrant, and a mirror.
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  • Basic measuring equipment including thermometer, center punch, and simple surveying equipment.
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  • Recording materials such as appropriate forms, field books and cameras.
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  • Safety equipment including rigging, harnesses, scaffolds, ladders, Bosun’s chairs and a first-aid kit.
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  • Miscellaneous equipment should include C-clamps, penetrating oil, insect repellant, wasp and hornet killer, stakes, flagging, and markers.

A more complete description of the usual inspection equipment can be found in Chapter 2 Section 4 of the Bridge Inspector's Reference Manual.4

Some inspections may significantly interfere with normal traffic movement and could endanger the bridge inspectors and traveling public. Coordinate these inspections with District personnel to ensure that appropriate traffic control measures are taken.

The underside of some bridges cannot be reached for inspection by conventional ladders. Perform these inspections using a vehicle with under-bridge platforms. TxDOT owns and operates several of these vehicles. Small boats are also available.

Coordinate in advance with the Inspection Branch of the Bridge Division to use any Division specialized access equipment.

3. Coding Guide, TxDOT, 2010. Bridge Inspector's Reference Manual, FHWA, 2015

4. Bridge Inspector's Reference Manual, FHWA, 2002 and 2006.

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