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Federal Highway Administration / Publications / Focus / July 2006

Accelerating Infrastructure Innovations

Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-06-027
Date: July 2006

FHWA Introduces Innovative Bridge Research and Deployment Program

Building better bridges today for a stronger transportation future is the goal of the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) new Innovative Bridge Research and Deployment (IBRD) program. The IBRD program is an expansion of FHWA's previous Innovative Bridge Research and Construction program, which was established under the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century. As defined by Congress in the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), the focus of the IBRD program is to promote, demonstrate, evaluate, and document the application of innovative designs, materials, and construction methods in constructing, repairing, and rehabilitating bridges and other highway structures. "The intent is to promote and demonstrate innovation in its broadest sense to move market-ready technologies into conventional practice," says Benjamin Tang of FHWA's Office of Bridge Technology. FHWA is now soliciting applications from States for candidate IBRD projects.

For fiscal year (FY) 2006, approximately $2.2 million is available from funds carried over from the IBRC program and approximately $5.1 million is available for the IBRD program, which will be combined into one fund for the FY 2006 IBRD projects. It is anticipated that qualified individual projects that are selected will be funded up to $250,000 each.

Qualified candidate projects for funding should meet one or more of the eight IBRD program goals:

Candidate projects may be located on any public roadway. Funds can be used for preliminary engineering, repair, rehabilitation, or construction of bridges or other highway structures. Funding can also be applied to project performance evaluation, including instrumentation and performance monitoring of the structure following construction.

"The intent is to promote and demonstrate innovation in its broadest sense to move market-ready technologies into conventional practice."

State departments of transportation should coordinate with local and Federal agencies, universities, private sector entities, and nonprofit organizations within their State to develop candidate projects. Applications should be submitted to the local FHWA division office. The State should rank each candidate project when more than one application is to be submitted. After review and consultation with the State transportation department, the FHWA division office will send applications that meet the submission criteria to FHWA's Office of Bridge Technology for evaluation. Applications are due to the Office of Bridge Technology by August 31, 2006. FHWA anticipates announcing the selected projects by December 2006.

The selection criteria for evaluating State applications will include such factors as projects that incorporate innovative materials and/or products that are readily available; use designs, materials, and construction methods that have broad application; already have funding commitments for design and construction or rehabilitation; or are part of a large right-of-way improvement project. Projects that leverage Federal funds with other public or private resources will be given preference, as well as projects that will be let for construction or rehabilitation by the target date of September 30, 2007.

For more information on submitting an IBRD project application, contact your local FHWA division office. Information on the IBRD program is also available from Chien-Tan Chang in FHWA's Office of Bridge Technology, 202-366-6749 (fax: 202-366-3077; email: chien-tan.chang@fhwa.dot.gov), or online at www.fhwa.dot.gov/bridge/ibrd.

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