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Federal Highway Administration / Publications / Focus / May 2006

Accelerating Infrastructure Innovations

Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-06-025
Date: May 2006

FHWA Launches Bridge and Tunnel Security Workshops

Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, protecting the security of the Nation's bridges and tunnels against possible attacks has been a new and critical challenge for State and local departments of transportation. Two new workshops available from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provide guidance and best practices to State and local transportation departments as they confront this challenge and work to strengthen the security of their transportation assets.

The workshops were developed from a broader 3-day course on bridge and tunnel security that FHWA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers presented to Federal, State, and local transportation agencies over the last 2 years. "We noticed that the course was attracting a wide variety of audiences," says Shay Burrows of the FHWA Resource Center's Structures Technical Service Team. "The new workshops allow us to more specifically target these different audiences, including emergency responders, and tailor information to their needs."

Risk Management for Terrorist Threats to Bridges and Tunnels is a 1.5-day workshop designed for bridge and highway engineers and managers. Workshop topics include identifying threats to bridges and tunnels and their potential impacts on these structures, as well as developing a cost-effective risk mitigation plan. Threats covered include vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED), hand-emplaced improvised explosive devices (HEIED), nonexplosive cutting devices (NECD), fire, and vehicle impact. The workshop also covers risk analysis, including how to identify vulnerable bridge members and quantify their vulnerability in order to determine the likelihood and consequences of an attack. Risk management topics include calculating the relative risk that structural components will experience from specific threats and selecting appropriate mitigation measures to reduce the risk. States can add an optional workshop component on tunnel vulnerabilities and mitigation measures.

"The new workshops allow FHWA to specifically target different audiences, including emergency responders, and tailor information to their needs."

First Responder Awareness to Terrorist Threats for Bridges and Tunnels is a 4-hour workshop designed to give law enforcement personnel, department of transportation personnel, and other emergency responders an overall awareness of terrorist threats and structural vulnerabilities. Participants will learn how to identify strengths and weaknesses of bridge and tunnel components and the damage that could result from specific types of attacks. Threats covered include VBIED, HEIED, NECD, fire, and vehicle impact. Also covered are mitigation measures for different levels of security alerts.

The workshops can be scheduled by States at no cost; the host State is responsible only for providing a facility. Workshops have been held to date in Washington State and Arizona. Mike Katzer of the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) attended the First Responder Awareness workshop held in Seattle, Washington, on March 3, 2006. "The workshop provided great information. It reinforced a lot of things I'd been taught over the years, including what types of threats to be on the lookout for and ways to mitigate damage that could result from attacks," says Katzer. "The training was well put together and very informative," notes Harvey Coffman of WSDOT, who attended the Risk Management for Terrorist Threats workshop in Tumwater, Washington, from February 28-March 1, 2006. "We have already assessed our structures for possible security threats, but this provided additional general knowledge of what terrorists would look for."

Workshops have also been scheduled in South Carolina and New Jersey, with two more being planned for Michigan and New York.

For more information or to schedule the workshops in your State, contact Shay Burrows at the FHWA Resource Center, 410-962-6791 (email: shay.burrows@fhwa.dot.gov), Derrell Manceaux of the FHWA Resource Center, 720-963-3205 (email: derrell.manceaux@fhwa.dot.gov), or Steve Ernst in FHWA's Office of Bridge Technology, 202-366-4619 (email: steve.ernst@fhwa.dot.gov).

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Updated: 06/27/2017
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