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Bridges & Structures

Subject: INFORMATION: Clarification of LRFD Policy Memorandum Date: January 22, 2007
From: /s/ Original Signed by
M. Myint Lwin, P.E., S.E.
Director, Office of Bridge Technology
Reply to Attn. of: HIBT-10
To: Directors of Field Services
Resource Center Director
Division Administrators
Federal Lands Highway Division Engineers

On June 28, 2000, FHWA issued a Policy Memorandum announcing its decision regarding a transition time frame for the use of Load and Resistance Factor Design (LRFD) for the design of new bridges on Federal-aid funded projects. According to the memo, all new bridges on which States initiate preliminary engineering after October 1, 2007, shall be designed by the AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specification. States unable to meet this date shall provide justification and a schedule, acceptable to the FHWA, to complete the transition.

The purpose of the memorandum herein is to provide FHWA Division Offices, States, and local governments with clarifications regarding FHWA's LRFD Policy Memorandum.

  • The term "preliminary engineering" as stated in the LRFD Policy Memorandum shall be interpreted as the initiation of the studies or design activities related to identification of the type, size, and/or location of bridges. The term "initiate" means the date when Federal-aid funds are obligated for preliminary engineering. In cases where Federal-aid funds are not used in preliminary engineering, but are used in construction or other phases of the project, the term "initiate" means the date when the State obligates or expends their own funds for preliminary engineering.

  • Superstructure, substructure, and foundation bridge elements shall be designed by LRFD.

  • For modifications to existing structures, States have the option of using the LRFD Specifications or the specifications which were used for the original design.

  • Shelved bridge projects designed and packaged for construction prior to October 1, 2007, are not subject to the LRFD Policy Memorandum, unless a redesign is required by the State after October 1, 2007.

  • The term "new bridges" as stated in the LRFD Policy Memorandum shall be interpreted to include both new and total replacement bridges.

  • Finally, the policy applies to all States-initiated Federal-aid funded projects, not just those funded with Highway Bridge Program funds, including on system and off-system projects.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Dr. Firas Sheikh Ibrahim at 202-366-4598, or Firas.Ibrahim@dot.gov.

Attachment: LRFD Policy Memorandum

Updated: 05/29/2015
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