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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
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Publication Number:  FHWA-HRT-14-052    Date:  October 2014
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-14-052
Date: October 2014


Long-Term Bridge Performance High Priority Bridge Performance Issues



Bridge performance is a multifaceted issue involving performance of materials and protective systems, performance of individual components of the bridge, and performance of the structural system as a whole. Bridge performance is influenced by many different factors. Some are static or fixed (for example, design type); others are variable (for example, live loadings). The LTBP Program’s resources may be inadequate to study every aspect of bridge performance. A basic principle governing the program is that it should serve the needs of bridge owners across the nation as identified by those bridge owners. Thus, considerable effort was undertaken to solicit input from bridge owners as well as from the bridge community at large on what high priority bridge performance issues should be addressed by the LTBP Program. The State transportation departments, bridge technical committees, and other individuals interviewed also provided input on the types of data that should be collected by the program and on the types of decision support tools that the program should deliver.

The result of the focus group meetings and other interviews is a list of 22 high priority bridge performance issues recommended for study under the LTBP Program. The initial priorities for study under the program are the following six issues:

These 6 issues and the majority of the other issues in the list of 22 are all related primarily to the physical condition and the structural integrity of bridges. They represent issues that bridge owners most commonly face in maintaining, repairing, or rehabilitating their bridges and involve the most common maintenance, repair, or rehabilitation activities they need to perform. These performance issues may arise because of certain design and/or construction details or may be the result of or be aggravated by service conditions and loadings.

Each of the high priority performance issues will be examined in detail and the specific data necessary to study the issues will be identified. The results will be published in the upcoming FHWA report Identifying Long-Term Bridge Performance Bridge Data Needs.


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