Bridges and structures are key components of the nation’s roadway network that provide transportation connectivity to safely cross features such as waterways, railways, roadways, and other obstacles. The FHWA Office of Bridges and Structures provides national policy and technical guidance related to the design, construction, inspection, evaluation, management, and preservation of the nation’s inventory of highway bridges, tunnels, culverts, walls, and other ancillary structures. This is done through regulations published in the code of Federal regulations and in supporting policy documents such as memos and technical advisories.
The Office of Bridges and Structures provides a technical function to support the safety, stewardship and oversight of over 610,000 highway bridges, more than 500 tunnels, and numerous other structures across the entire USA. Under the Federal-Aid Highway Program, FHWA annually distributes funding of approximately $7 billion to assist transportation agencies plan, design, build, repair, rehabilitate, and inspect such bridges and structures.
The Office also performs key activities that support the national advancement of tools and technology in engineering. The staff actively serves on key committees to identify the emerging issues and develop innovative solutions and strategies to address the needs of the industry. Research is executed and implemented through national standards and specifications to improve the safety and performance of infrastructure. Training is provided to meet the needs of the DOTs and the industry at large.
The Office of Bridges and Structures has three engineering teams: Structural Engineering (including specialists in steel, concrete, tunnels, seismic, security, and load rating), Hydraulics and Geotechnical Engineering (including hydrology, hydraulics, scour, coastal, climate change, foundations, slopes, embankments, and soil materials), and Structures Safety and Management (bridge and tunnel inspections, bridge and tunnel inventories, asset management, and preservation).
Using the experience and expertise of these teams, the Office provides oversight to the safety and inspection of the nation’s highway bridges and tunnels, develops programmatic and technical policy and guidance, reviews designs of complex and unusual projects; provides technical assistance and expertise; and performs special assignments such as failure investigation.
This website provides a compilation of valuable technical reference information such as research reports, manuals, training, design examples, policy documents, and links.