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Bridges & Structures

Subject: INFORMATION: Compliance with the National Bridge Inspection Standards - Plan of Action for Scour Critical Bridges Date: March 29, 2005
From: /s/ Original signed by:
M. Myint Lwin, P.E., S.E
Director, Office of Bridge Technology
Reply to Attn. of: HIBT-20
To: Resource Center Managers
Division Administrators
Federal Lands Highway Division Engineers

An updated rule of the National Bridge Inspection Standards (NBIS) was enacted on January 13, 2005. One of the immediate actions that require our attention in the updated NBIS rule pertains to the preparation of a Plan of Action (POA) for a bridge identified as scour critical during the national bridge scour evaluation program. We appreciate the commitment of your staff and State department of transportation (DOT) representatives for all efforts that have gone towards identifying scour critical bridges.

As we move together towards complying with the January 13, 2006, target date for implementing the requirements of the updated NBIS rule, we encourage you to continue to work with your State DOT representatives engaged in the scour program to develop a POA for each scour critical bridge identified during the scour evaluation program. Our active role in assisting bridge owners to develop and implement POAs will not only ensure compliance with the updated NBIS rule, but it will help to reduce the percent of reported bridges over waterways that are vulnerable to scour. The latter will have an impact on one of the performance measures of Outcome 3 of the FHWA's Bridge Program Strategic Plan, "Highway structures provide a high level of safety and service under all conditions."

As you may know, the FHWA has disseminated guidance for developing a POA in its publication HEC-23, "Bridge Scour and Stream Instability Countermeasures," Second Edition dated March 2001. This publication can be downloaded at: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/engineering/hydraulics/library_arc.cfm?pub_number=23

More information on POAs is posted at: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/engineering/hydraulics/bridgehyd/poa.cfm

Questions and Answers on the new NBIS rule are posted at: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/bridge/nbis/

Through conferences, training, and face-to-face meetings, the FHWA National Hydraulics Team has been actively promoting guidance and sharing strategies used by some DOTs for developing and implementing POAs. The Team is available to assist you in your efforts to work with your DOT representatives in this important phase of the scour evaluation program. I encourage you and your State DOT representatives to consider seeking their assistance. Please contact

Mr. Jorge E. Pagán-Ortiz, Leader, National Hydraulics Team (jorge.pagan@fhwa.dot.gov), or Cynthia Nurmi, Hydraulics Engineer, Resource Center (cynthia.nurmi@fhwa.dot.gov) to coordinate this assistance or for more information on POAs.

We look forward to assisting you and your State DOT representatives in achieving compliance with this important requirement of the updated NBIS rule.

Updated: 06/27/2017
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