Section 3: Bridge Inspection

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Routine Inspection

Bridges should be inspected on a regular basis, in the off-year of the contracted Routine Bridge Inspection (every 24 months). In addition, inspections should be made immediately following any significant event such as permit overloads, floods or impact damage that could alter the condition of the structure. These inspections are not intended to be detailed but rather a quick assessment of damage and/or deterioration for the purpose of determining repair needs or to identify safety hazards. Particular attention should be given to:

If significant damage is found during one of these inspections, the area engineer and the district's bridge inspection program coordinator should be notified immediately.

Attention should also be given to routine or preventive maintenance work such as:

Prompt maintenance and repair should follow these inspections.

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Bridge Inspection Program

Off-year inspections are in addition to and are not replaced by the contracted federal routine bridge inspections made every two years; however, the off-year inspection reports should be reviewed by the engineer responsible for maintenance.

Prompt scheduling of necessary preventive maintenance and repairs should follow this review. Notify the district bridge inspection coordinator of the type of work performed and when it was done.

Each bridge is assigned control/section. Permanent structure numbers stenciled on the bridge should be maintained to ensure proper identification.

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Program Coordination

The system of record for off-year bridge inspections is the Maintenance Bridge Inspection Tracking System (MBITS). The Maintenance Division will identify an MBITS Program Coordinator who is responsible for the following:

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  • Sending the list of bridges needing inspection for the upcoming calendar year well in advance of the year and on a quarterly basis to the districts with required inspections for that year. The MBITS Program Coordinator will provide a window for the districts to complete the off-year bridge inspections from 6-18 months after the previous contracted federal routine bridge inspection was completed.
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  • Performing spot checks each quarter of MBITS forms completed in the system to verify dates are correct, all information is completed on forms, and forms are relevant. They will reach out to MBITS District Coordinators for any issues encountered and keep a record of forms reviewed.
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  • Working with the MBITS Training Coordinator to ensure individuals in need of training are included the next time a training course is available in the district of need or possibly an adjacent district.
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  • Providing a brief summary after the end of the year to the Maintenance Division Director on the percentage of off-year bridge inspections that were completed by each district, the total and percentage of bridges in each district that are overdue for inspection, the number of employees who took the MBITS class (MNT 127), and the list of individuals in each district responsible for reviewing the inspections for planning the various bridge program work.

Each district will identify an MBITS District Coordinator who is responsible for the following:

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  • Coordinating with district maintenance, district bridge, and each maintenance section to ensure all off-year bridge inspections are completed.
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  • Reviewing all MBITS forms to ensure they are filled out properly.
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  • Creating an internal electronic folder where pictures can be uploaded by inspectors and reviewed by district maintenance and bridge personnel.
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  • Sending an annual follow up to the MBITS Program Coordinator that all off-year bridge inspections have been completed, including identifying who has/will be reviewing the inspections for consideration in Bridge Maintenance Improvement Program (BMIP), Bridge Preventive Maintenance (BPM) program, in house repairs, etc. This individual will be copied on the email response.
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  • On an annual basis, sending the list of individuals at the district who are in need of MNT 127 training to the MBITS Program Coordinator. This list is based on individuals who performed off-year bridge inspections in the previous year who have never had the training and from polling from maintenance supervisors. The MBITS District Coordinator can also provide an overview inspection course in lieu of MNT127 if a need is identified and there are not any upcoming MNT127 courses in the district.
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Completing MBITS Forms

When completing an off-year bridge inspection and entering data into MBITS, the following guidelines are provided:

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  • Separate forms are used for bridges and bridge class culverts
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  • Ensure all header information on the top of the form is accurate in MBITS, including the date of when the inspection was performed.
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  • An answer of 'Yes', 'No', or 'N/A' is needed on all questions. For answers of 'No', an explanation is required. Provide a brief description of the issue observed and location of the issue. For example, instead of stating 'deck spalling', state 'a 6"x6" spall about 2" deep was observed 100' from the west abutment near the sidewalk on the eastbound lane.'
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  • One picture may be uploaded into MBITS for each question. However, inspectors are encouraged to take additional pictures as needed and upload into a district folder separate from the MBITS.
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  • Most bridges have defects, though some are more major than others. Always describe any issues seen, unless considered insignificant, and do not simply check 'Yes' on all questions.
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Record Retention

All completed MBITS forms are to be retained electronically for the life of the bridge asset plus an additional 5 years.

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Where to Find Additional Information

Additional information on the bridge inspection program is contained in the Bridge Inspection Manual published by the Bridge Division. The Bridge Inspection Form 1085-1 is also maintained by the Bridge Division.

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