FHWA Policy Memorandums - Office of Engineering

INFORMATION: Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991-Bridge Painting, Seismic Retrofit, and Acetate Application

Date: March 17, 1992
Associate Administrator for Program Development HNG-33
Regional Federal Highway Administrators
Federal Lands Highway Program Administrator

The ISTEA of 1991 has revised Title 23, U.S.C. to allow Federal participation in bridge painting, seismic retrofitting, and application of calcium magnesium acetate to highway bridges. These items of work are now eligible for participation with bridge program funds.

Bridge painting, seismic retrofitting, and calcium magnesium acetate application may be undertaken as sole work items or combined with other eligible work. Where bridge program funds are used, the bridges must be on a eligibility selection list provided under 23 CFR 650.409(b). For those bridges not on the selection list, Surface Transportation Program (STP) funds are available to address bridge painting, seismic retrofitting, and calcium magnesium acetate applications for bridges on public roads of all functional classifications.

These tasks are not considered reconstruction and are not subject to the 10-year rule. Therefore, Item 106 of the Coding Guide should not be updated as a result of these types of work. A record keeping system should be developed that will allow an accounting of funds expended for each of the activities.

Bridge Painting

Painting projects may include complete cleaning and repainting of the entire structure, or spot cleaning and priming of corroded or failed areas, followed by one or two full topcoats. Random spot painting as would normally be accomplished through routine or periodic maintenance is not eligible.

In special cases, painting of a portion of a bridge may be acceptable. Examples might be the cleaning and painting of an entire truss but not the bridge's floor beam and stringer system, or cleaning and painting of selected spans of a multi-span structure. These types of projects should be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Painting of any extent accomplished as part of a rehabilitation project would, as in the past, be eligible.

Seismic Retrofit

The guidance in Mr. Carlson's memorandum on the subject dated January 8, 1990, is superseded. In its place the following guidance applies for seismic retrofit projects: 1) bridges must be located within an area at risk of effective peak accelerations of 0.10 or greater, 2) the proposed retrofitting must be part of a statewide retrofit analysis and multi-year priority plan and 3) for bridges identified by the FHWA on the current selection list of deficient bridges, retrofitting may be a sole work item or included as part of the overall retrofit project. However, if a deficient bridge is programmed for demolition, seismic retrofit is ineligible for bridge program funding unless the demolition is some time in the future, say 5 years away, then some effective inexpensive retrofit (such as longitudinal restrainers) will be acceptable as a participating item. Partial or total seismic retrofitting of an existing structure is eligible for Federal assistance whether carried out separately or in conjunction with other work.

Also, the cost to correct seismic deficiencies for otherwise non-deficient bridges will not be included in our computation of bridge needs for the purpose of future apportionments.

Calcium Magnesium Acetate Application

To minimize the administrative record keeping for tracking the use of Federal funds for application of this product, it is suggested that the funding be limited to the cost of the material. Interim payments could be made on cost estimates of materials utilized with the final payment at the end of the winter season based on the actual quantities of calcium magnesium acetate applied to eligible bridge sites.

To prevent tracking of roadway salt onto bridge decks, material quantities may include that which is applied to a length of approach roadway, and a length on each approach of approximately 2,500 feet is suggested.

Original signed by:

/S/ Thomas O. Willett
for Anthony R. Kane

FHWA Home | Directives | Policy Memos | Feedback
United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration