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Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations

This report is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-06-072
Date: March 2006

Multiyear Plan for Bridge and Tunnel Security Research, Development, and Deployment

Section 1: Development of a Multiyear Program

This report proposes an R&D program addressing highway bridge and tunnel security. In addition to securing the physical infrastructure, it is recognized that there is a need to protect the "info infrastructure" as increasing reliance is placed on information technology as a result of the greater role being played by intelligent transportation systems. FHWA and other agencies within the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) must work together to address high-priority, long-term, long-range research needs in this and other areas in order to develop appropriate solutions at the national level.

Anticipating a multiyear program, FHWA initiated a number of efforts to identify research, development, and deployment needs for bridge and tunnel security. These efforts included a needs assessment, creation of a Blue Ribbon Panel, and conduct of a research needs workshop. The results of these activities are addressed below and form the multiyear bridge and tunnel security research program described herein.

During this same time period, the FHWA Office of Infrastructure R&D was restructuring its bridge and structures research program to pursue a more strategically focused R&D agenda. Realizing the worsening conditions of our bridges and other highway structures because of normal daily use, FHWA set a vision to "get out in front of the bridge deterioration curve and stay there," and to develop a strategy to conduct long-term, long-range research addressing: (1) design and construction needs to support development of the "Bridge of the Future"; (2) Stewardship and Management of our existing infrastructure; and (3) Safety, Reliability, and Security of both existing and future bridges and other highway structures. Therefore, when FHWA conducted a needs assessment, it included an outreach to both internal and external partners, customers, and stakeholders to help define gaps in knowledge and research needs within these three focus areas.

Requests were sent to both internal and external groups within the bridge community seeking input in structuring the bridge and structures R&D program. Subsequently, a series of meetings were held at FHWA's Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC) where program managers and other invited FHWA offices assisted in refining the findings and restructuring the long-term R&D program. Results of this effort addressed needs in all three program focus areas. Presented herein are those needs addressing the security element of the bridge Safety, Reliability, and Security focus area. Although the discussion centers on bridge and tunnel security R&D, it should be realized that bridges and tunnels must be designed to withstand all hazards (natural and otherwise).

FHWA envisions a multiyear program that will lead to bridges and structures that are resilient to all extreme events and threats. In order to develop a resilient physical infrastructure that can withstand acts of terrorism, FHWA must invest in developing better risk and vulnerability assessment methodologies, newer structural systems and improved analysis techniques, and improved materials. The program should be structured to find improved ways to prevent incidents; however, if an incident does occur, it must also provide better methodologies for assessing the safety of damaged structures. Investments must also be made to develop rapid repair and restoration techniques.

Overall, the program must encompass a wide range of topics that include systems analysis and design; improved materials; prevention, detection, and surveillance; post-event assessment, repair, and restoration; and evaluation and training.

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Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000
Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center | 6300 Georgetown Pike | McLean, VA | 22101