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Conditions and Performance

Status of the Nation's Highways, Bridges, and Transit:
2002 Conditions and Performance Report

Part III : Bridges
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Executive Summary
Part I: Description of Current System
Ch1: The Role of Highways and Transit
Ch2: System and Use Characteristics
Ch3: System Conditions
Ch4: Operational Performance
Ch5: Safety Performance
Ch6: Finance

Part II: Investment Performance Analyses
Ch7: Capital Investment Requirements
Ch8: Comparison of Spending and Investment Requirements
Ch9: Impacts of Investment
Ch10: Sensitivity Analysis

Part III: Bridges
Ch11: Federal Bridge Program Status of the Nation's Bridges

Part IV: Special Topics
Ch12: National Security
Ch13: Highway Transportation in Society
Ch14: The Importance of Public Transportation
Ch15: Macroeconomic Benefits of Highway Investment
Ch16: Pricing
Ch17: Transportation Asset Management
Ch18: Travel Model Improvement Program
Ch19: Air Quality
Ch20: Federal Safety Initiatives
Ch21: Operations Strategies
Ch22: Freight

Part V: Supplemental Analyses of System Components
Ch23: Interstate System
Ch24: National Highway System
Ch25: NHS Freight Connectors
Ch26: Highway-Rail Grade Crossings
Ch27: Transit Systems on Federal Lands

Appendix A: Changes in Highway Investment Requirements Methodology
Appendix B: Bridge Investment/Performance Methodology
Appendix C: Transit Investment Condition and Investment Requirements Methodology
List of Contacts

Part III:


General information on the composition and conditions of the Nation's bridges was presented in Chapters 2 and 3, which focused on the highway system and provided an overview of bridge performance. This section of the report provides additional detail on the conditions, composition, and performance of bridges as well as information on Federal bridge programs.

Bridges are critical elements within the highway transportation network supporting commerce, economic vitality, and personal mobility. Every day, close to 4 billion vehicles cross bridges in the United States. The public expects these structures to be safe and able to accommodate this volume of traffic. The safety of the bridge network came into question in the late 1960s when, on December 15, 1967, the Silver Bridge spanning between West Virginia and Ohio collapsed during rush-hour traffic. This catastrophic event resulted in 46 fatalities and numerous injuries, prompting national concern about bridge conditions and safety. Following this disastrous event, programs were established to ensure periodic safety inspection of bridges and provide mechanisms for funding of bridge replacement and rehabilitation needs. The primary bridge programs include the National Bridge Inspection Program (NBIP) and the associated Highway Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation Program (HBRRP).

As shown in the tables and discussions, the Nation's highway bridges have remained safe as a result of the bridge programs and progress has been made toward the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) strategic goals of reducing deficiencies. However, with an ever-aging population of highway structures, increasing traffic demands, and limited budgets, the FHWA and the Nation need to take a closer look at transportation system preservation strategies, such as preventive maintenance and improved bridge inspection and management techniques, to continue to ensure the safety of the motoring public and effective stewardship of the public trust.

Information is presented in the following order:

  • Overview of the National Bridge Inspection Program and the Highway Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation Program. The evolution of the programs is also presented and discussed.

  • Additional detail on the bridge conditions and composition summarized in Chapters 2 and 3.

  • Additional detail on the highway bridge network through the examination of specific functional classifications, ownership, material types, and design types.
Page last modified on November 7, 2014.
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