U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
Status of the Nation's Highways, Bridges, and Transit:
2002 Conditions and Performance Report
Part I: Description of Current System
Part II: Investment Performance Analyses
Part III: Bridges
Part IV: Special Topics
Part V: Supplemental Analyses of System Components
Federal Bridge ProgramThe National Bridge Program was established in 1971 to address safety concerns on the nation's bridges. A key element of the program is the National Bridge Inspection Program (NBIP). The inspection program is based on the National Bridge Inspection Standards (NBIS) adopted by the FHWA and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). Federal funding is provided through the HBRRP.
Inspection standards extend to procedures, frequency, personnel qualifications, reports, and inventories. The purpose of the inspection program is to locate and evaluate existing bridge deficiencies to assure their owners will act to keep them safe for the traveling public. Through the HBRRP, Congress has authorized more than $56 billion in federal funds for bridge replacement and rehabilitation projects.
Approximately 30 percent of the structures on the Nation's highway system are either structurally or functionally deficient. This total has been decreasing over the past few years.
A structurally deficient bridge is not necessarily subject to immediate collapse, but has been identified as being restricted to lighter vehicles or is in immediate need of rehabilitation to remain open to traffic. A functionally obsolete bridge generally is one that no longer meets current geometric and structural standards for the highway on which it is located.
Aging BridgesThe Nation's bridges are deteriorating with age. At the same time, the amount of traffic on them is increasing putting a greater strain on the existing system. Older structures will require increasing future maintenance to remain functional or will need to be replaced on a systematic basis to maintain the integrity of the Nation's highway system.