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Superseded by the 10/08/04 Preventive Maintenance Eligibility Memo

Subject: INFORMATION: HBRRP Funds For Preventive Maintenance (23 U.S.C. 116(d)) Date: January 11, 2002
From: King W. Gee
Program Manager, Infrastructure
Reply to:
Attn. of:
To: Division Administrators
Directors of Field Services
Federal Lands Highway Division Engineers

With concurrence from the Office of Chief Counsel, we have concluded that HBRRP funds may be obligated for preventive maintenance on Federal-aid highway bridges under Section 309 of the National Highway System Designation Act of 1995 (codified as 23 U.S.C. 116(d)). In this memorandum, I will provide guidance to help you work with your State and other partners as they consider using HBRRP funds for this purpose.

Under the legislation establishing the HBRRP, Congress intended the funds to be used to replace or rehabilitate deficient highway bridges so they would no longer be deficient. We implemented the program in accordance with this concept. However, in 1995, Congress added subsection (d) to 23 U.S.C. 116:

(d) PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE - A preventive maintenance activity shall be eligible for Federal assistance under this title if the State demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Secretary that the activity is a cost-effective means of extending the useful life of a Federal-aid highway.

We issued guidance on this provision on March 21, 1996 ("Preventive Maintenance Revision to 23 U.S.C. 116," reference copy attached). Under this guidance, Federal-aid highway funds could be used for projects to extend the service life of existing pavements, bridges, and essential highway appurtenances. Although bridges were cited in the 1996 guidance, HBRRP funds have not been used for this purpose. Now, based on the 23 U.S.C. 101 definitions of "highway," which includes bridges, and "Federal-aid highway," we agree with the Office of Chief Counsel's conclusion that funds under the HBRRP may be obligated on all Federal-aid highway bridges (other than bridges on roads classified as local roads or rural minor collectors), regardless of their sufficiency rating or deficiency status, consistent with the congressional intent of Section 309 of the 1995 Act.

I want to emphasize that routine maintenance remains the responsibility of the State and is not eligible for HBRRP or other Federal-aid highway funding. The division office is responsible for making the determination on what can be considered as a cost-effective means of extending the service life of a bridge. The Office of Infrastructure is developing policies, program guidance, and technical support for transportation system preservation, including preventive maintenance activities that can be applied to the roadway, bridge, and roadside assets. We expect to complete these policies and guidance in 2002.

To meet the intent of 23 U.S.C. 144 and 116(d), it is important that system preservation activities for the purpose of preventive maintenance on bridges be carried out using a systematic process, such as a Bridge Management System (BMS). A properly developed BMS can create benefit/cost scenarios and investment strategies to help the State make the most efficient use of limited funds. An effective BMS should fully support the State's assessment of a strategy's cost-effectiveness. As noted in AASHTO Policy Resolution PR-5-00, dated April 19, 2001, "... many states have developed and are using Bridge Management Systems which when fully utilized by managers will yield systematic approaches to effectively allocate funding for preventative maintenance and system preservation activities."

To take full advantage of existing BMS capabilities, we have determined that HBRRP funds may be used for preventive maintenance generated using a systematic process for all eligible Federal-aid highway bridges (i.e., other than bridges on local roads or rural minor collectors). We are optimistic that this action will encourage States that have not fully implemented a BMS to do so now. I encourage the divisions to recommend they do so in accordance with AASHTO's Guidelines for Bridge Management Systems, which contains some of the best information available on this subject.

For any State that has a BMS and wishes to use HBRRP funds for preventive maintenance activities, the division office should determine whether the State's BMS uses a systematic process for preservation activities. A BMS should be acceptable if it follows the AASHTO Guidelines. I recommend that the divisions take full advantage of the technical expertise offered by the Resource Centers and their Bridge Management Engineers in making this determination.

For purposes of entering bridge preservation activities in the FMIS, use the improvement type Code 14, "Bridge Rehabilitation - No Added Capacity." If you have questions or wish additional information, please call Mr. Raymond McCormick at (202) 366-4675.


Updated: 06/27/2017
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