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Bridges & Structures

Additional Guidance on 23 CFR 650 D

Formerly Federal-aid Policy Guide Non-Regulatory Supplement NS 23 CFR, Part 650 D,
September 30, 1992, Transmittal 5
See Order 1321.1C FHWA Directives Management

  1. New and Major Reconstruction of Bridges. The FHWA established a "10-year rule" for determining a bridge's eligibility for HBRRP funding after construction or major reconstruction has taken place. The rule prevents a bridge from remaining in a deficient classification after major reconstruction and thereby affecting the bridge fund apportionments to a State.
    1. New and Major Reconstruction of Bridges-Interpretation of the 10-Year Rule (23 CFR 650.405). A bridge improvement would be subject to the 10-year rule if it is classed as rehabilitation or replacement under 23 CFR 650.405(b) irrespective of the funding used. Conversely, a bridge improvement would not be subject to the 10-year rule if it cannot be classed as rehabilitation or replacement under one of the 23 CFR 650.405(b) definitions. Such an improvement would not be eligible for HBRRP funding although it may be eligible for other Federal-aid funding.
    2. New or Major Reconstruction of Bridges Built to Less than AASHTO Standards (23 CFR 650.413). Bridges in the NBI with a date of construction or date of major reconstruction (NBI Item 27) within the past 10 years will not be considered a deficient bridge, will not be eligible for HBRRP funds and will not be used to apportion HBRRP funds. For example, a date of 1976 will be used for the determination until the end of 1985. Eligibility for HBRRP funding:
      1. The definition of major reconstruction should be developed by the region and division offices in consultation with the States.
      2. The 10-year criteria in which a bridge will not be eligible for HBRRP funding applies to bridges replaced or reconstructed with any Federal-aid funds, with all State or local funds, private funds, or any combination thereof.
      3. To be eligible for funding, the bridge must be of the current HBRRP selection list. Any bridge constructed or reconstructed in the past 10 years will not appear on this list. This will apply whether or not Item 13, Bridge Description, is coded as a temporary structure.
      4. Any State request to use HBRRP funds for a bridge not on the selection list should be fully documented and justified to indicate that additional deficiencies have developed through some natural or unforeseen phenomenon. Bridges removed from the selection list because of the 10-year criteria but with Federal-aid funds obligated for construction work prior to their removal will continue to be eligible for HBRRP funds. Regions should handle each of the above cases on an individual basis.
      5. Incorrectly coded data in the National Bridge Inventory should be corrected as soon as possible.
  2. Implementation of Section 123(e)-Off System Bridge Program (No CFR paragraph reference)
    1. Federal regulations originating with Section 123(e) of the 1987 STURAA, permit the expenditure of local funds on an off-system non-Federal-aid project in some cases to be used to offset the local matching share of a subsequent HBRRP (23 CFR 650, subpart D) bridge project. There have been questions on the work activities that qualify. The FHWA has determined that for the purposes of implementing 23 U.S.C. 144(n), the term "construction" should be broadly defined. It includes most activities incidental to the development and actual replacement or rehabilitation of a highway bridge. However, many States may want to limit the crediting phases of such projects to only the classic "hard construction" activities. These activities are usually easier to track and can be readily quantified at the time the new bridge improvements are ready to accept traffic.
    2. Federal regulations originating in Section 123(e) of the 1987 STURAA, also permits States to carry out bridge improvements on non-controversial off-system bridges (on local roads and rural minor collectors) without Federal funding, and then apply 80 percent of the cost of such projects as credit toward the non-Federal share of other HBRRP projects. The FHWA has developed basic national guidelines for uniform administering those projects and the guidelines are:
      1. The bridges meet the normal current eligibility requirements for HBRRP funding. (They must be both deficient and have a sufficiency rating of 80 or less to be eligible for rehabilitation or a sufficiency rating of less than 50 to be eligible for replacement).
      2. They must be noncontroversial.
      3. Projects must be carried out in accordance with standards which are certified by the State and accepted by the FHWA as meeting all standards applicable to other bridge projects funded under 23 U.S.C. 144.
      4. The resulting improved bridges must not be deficient.
      5. Construction costs are the only expenditures eligible for credit.
      6. Only a minimal amount of approach work is to be applied as a credit.
      7. Credits for future matching of HBRRP will not be made for these bridge projects until the project is complete, inventoried, inspected and the resulting data entered into the State's bridge inventory file.
  3. Implementation of Section 123(d)-Bridges to Replace Destroyed Bridges and Ferryboat Service (No CFR paragraph reference)
    1. Federal regulations originating with Section 123(d) of the 1987 STURAA make the replacement of destroyed bridges and ferryboat service, 23 U.S.C. 144(m), eligible work under the Highway Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation Program, 23 CFR 650, subpart D. The FHWA has developed basic national guidelines for uniform administration of the eligible work and the guidelines are:
      1. Bridges built under this section must meet the highway system requirements of which they are a part. Further, regular Federal-aid procedures and Section 144 requirements, where applicable, shall be used. In particular, the requirement that minimal approach roadway costs will be eligible must be observed.
      2. The program is applicable only to highway bridges.
      3. Bridges constructed under this section will not be added to the National Bridge Inventory until the new bridge is completed.
      4. The completed structure does not have to be of bridge length.
      5. It is possible that a bridge made obsolete by Corps of Engineer actions and in some instances low water crossings, could be classified as deficient bridges. If a bridge is already eligible for the HBRRP, it shall be programmed under the regular HBRRP program with no special designation.
    2. There is a definition of low water crossing to be used for this program. Low water crossings include public road waterway crossings other than bridges where construction improvements have been made in the stream, river or lake bed to provide a firm surface for vehicles to travel across the water course. The crossings are designed and constructed to be passable to traffic most of the year during periods of ordinary stream flow but are impassable to traffic during periods of high water.
  4. HBRRP Program Funding Policy on Closed Bridges (23 CFR 650.413). The FHWA has developed a funding policy for closed bridges. The HBRRP funds can only be used to replace or to rehabilitate bridges which are significantly important and are unsafe. Bridges out of service (closed) prior to the establishment of the Special Bridge Replacement Program (December 31, 1970) are not eligible for the HBRRP and were removed from the National Bridge Inventory. Bridges taken out of service after December 31, 1970, are also not eligible unless the State highway agency has made reasonable progress in scheduling the rehabilitation or replacement of the facility, thus indicating that the bridge was of significant importance.
  5. Use of Highway Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation Program (HBRRP) Funds for Approach Roadway Construction (23 CFR 650.413). The FHWA is concerned that in some instances approach roadway costs associated with HBRRP projects are excessive to the point of not falling within the congressional intent for the program "to improve deficient bridges." States and local entities are encouraged to use other categories of funds for approach roadways and miscellaneous non-bridge items. Also the FHWA Division offices are directed to:
    1. Review and revise policy relating to inclusion of approach roadway items in HBRRP projects to provide for more national uniformity in bridge program management and minimize approach roadway project costs. This action should result in a nationwide average of no more than 10 percent.
    2. Review the overall HBRRP where average bridge expenditures are not a high percentage of all HBRRP funds obligated and make appropriate changes to provide more national uniformity in bridge program management.
  6. Purchase and Installation of Bridge Load Posting Signs with Highway Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation Program Funds (23 CFR 650.413). The FHWA has determined that it is consistent with the purpose of the HBRRP to allow the use of bridge program funds to purchase and install load posting signs to protect the public until such bridges can be replaced or rehabilitated. Therefore, the initial set of load posting signs immediately adjacent to the bridge is considered eligible for HBRRP funds.
  7. Highway Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation Program - Historic Bridges (23 CFR 650.413). The FHWA has determined that it is consistent with the purpose of the HBRRP to allow the use of bridge program apportioned funds to inventory bridges for historic significance.
  8. Highway Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation Program Funding of Bridge Inspections (23 CFR 650.413). The FHWA has determined that it is consistent with the purpose of the HBRRP to allow the use of bridge program funds for the biennial continued inspection of bridges.
  9. Highway Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation Program (23 CFR 650.409). The National Bridge Inventory will be used for preparing the selection list of bridges both on and off of Federal-aid highways. Highway bridges considered structurally deficient or functionally obsolete and with a sufficiency rating of 80 or less will be used for the selection list. Those bridges appearing on the list with a sufficiency rating of less than 50.0 will be eligible for replacement or rehabilitation while those with a sufficiency rating of 80.0 or less will be eligible for rehabilitation. To be considered for the classification of deficient bridge, a structure must be of bridge length, and had not been constructed or had major reconstruction within the past 10 years.
    1. General Qualifications: In order to be considered for either the structurally deficient or functionally obsolete classification a highway bridge must meet the following:

      Structurally Deficient -

      1. A condition rating of 4 or less for
        • Item 58 - Deck; or
        • Item 59 - Superstructures; or
        • Item 60 - Substructures; or
        • Item 62 - Culvert and Retaining Walls.(1) or
      2. An appraisal rating of 2 or less for
        • Item 67 - Structural Condition; or
        • Item 71 - Waterway Adequacy.(2)

      Functionally Obsolete -

      1. An appraisal rating of 3 or less for
        • Item 68 - Deck Geometry; or
        • Item 69 - Underclearances;(3) or
        • Item 72 - Approach Roadway Alignment. or
      2. An appraisal rating of 3 for
        • Item 67 - Structural Condition; or
        • Item 71 - Waterway Adequacy.(2)

    2. Any bridge classified as structurally deficient is excluded from the functionally obsolete category.

1. Item 62 applies only if the last digit of Item 43 is coded 19.
2. Item 71 applies only if the last digit of Item 42 is coded 0, 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9.
3. Item 69 applies only if the last digit of Item 42 is coded 0, 1, 2, 4, 6, 7 or 8.

Updated: 08/29/2013
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000