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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-16-007    Date:  January 2016
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-16-007
Date: January 2016


Long-Term Bridge Performance (LTBP) Program Protocols, Version 1

Chapter 5. Protocol Development and Publication Plan

The LTBP protocols are intended to be living documents, growing as the program progresses. The framework hierarchy presented allows for this growth. The publication of the protocols will be in stages. Though the exact frequency of issuing additional versions is not yet established, the LTBP Program will issue periodic updates, which will include additional protocols and changes to previously published protocols. When possible, between major releases, additions and changes will be posted on the LTBP Web site.

The first publication covers the following subject areas (table 3):

Table 3. Index of Version 1 LTBP Program Protocols.

Primary Group Secondary Group Tertiary Group # Protocol Name
PRE ED (Existing Documentation) BD (Bridge Documentation) 001 Plans and Specifications for Bridge Design and Construction
002 Bridge Construction Records
003 Bridge Design and Construction Cost Data
004 Bridge Site Conditions
005 Bridge Inspection Records
006 Bridge Maintenance Records and Cost Data
007 Calculations of Bridge Ratings
LD (Legacy Data Mining) 001 Legacy Data Mining for Untreated Bridge Decks
PL (Preliminary Planning and Logistics) LO (Logistics) 001 Reference Bridge Testing
002 Cluster Bridge Testing
003 Traffic Control, Maintenance and Protection of Traffic (MPT), and Permits
004 Personal Health and Safety Plan
005 Personnel Qualifications
006 Power and Network Requirements
007 Communication and Coordination Plan
FLD OP (Onsite Pretest Activities) SP (Site Preparedness) 001 Site Preparation
SC (Spatial Context) 001 Data Collection Grid and Coordinate System for Bridge Decks
002 Structure Segmentation and Element Identification System
003 Determination of Local Origins for Elements
DC (Field Data Collection) PH (Photography) 001 Photography Equipment Requirements
002 Photographing for Documentation Purposes
003 Image Naming
MS (Material Sampling) 001 Wet Coring of Concrete Decks
002 Compressive Strength and Static and Dynamic Elastic Moduli of Concrete Cores
003 Resistance of Concrete to Chloride Ion Penetration (Permeability)
004 Sampling and Testing for Chloride Profiles
NDE (Nondestructive Evaluation) 001 Electrical Resistivity Testing
002 Ground Penetrating Radar Testing for Bridge Decks
003 Half-Cell Potential Testing
004 Impact Echo Testing
005 Linear Polarization Resistance Testing
006 Dye Penetrant Testing
007 Ultrasonic Surface Wave Testing—Concrete
008 Ultrasonic Testing—Steel Fatigue Cracking
VIS (Visual Inspection—Steel Elements) 001 Steel Superstructure Deterioration
002 Steel Superstructure—Corrosion
003 Steel Superstructure—Section Loss
004 Steel Superstructure—Cracking, Deflection, Uplift, Distortion, Buckling, Rotation, and Impact Damage
VIC (Visual Inspection—Concrete Bridge Elements) 001 Concrete Deterioration
002 Concrete Substructure Condition Assessment
003 Concrete Deck—Spalls and Delamination
004 Concrete Superstructure and Substructure—Spalls and Delamination
005 Concrete—Cracking
006 Concrete—Abrasion
007 Concrete—Sulfate Attack
VIB (Visual Inspection—Bearings) 001 Elastomeric Bearings
002 Rocker Bearings
VIJ (Visual Inspection—Joints) 001 Drainage System on Bridge Decks and Approach Slabs
002 Expansion Joints
DS (Data Storage) LS (Local Storage) 001 Data, Document, and Image Storage—Local
RS (Remote Storage) 001 Data, Document, and Image Storage—Remote


Future versions of this report will cover the following topics, but may not be limited to these additions:


The bridges studied in the LTBP Program will undergo an initial round of evaluation, testing, and material characterization to establish baseline knowledge of the bridges’ condition and behavior. Over time, these bridges will be reevaluated and retested, and the changes in values of the data collected will be used to document and analyze various aspects of the performance of bridges.

The overarching goal of the protocols is to ensure LTBP data are collected using scientifically sound methods that are applied uniformly regardless of when, where, or by whom the data are collected and then to ensure that the data collected are reduced and accessible within the LTBP Program Bridge Portal where it can be confidently used by LTBP Program researchers and others for years to come to better understand bridge performance. Given this, the protocols are more than a document that provides instructions for implementing various data collection techniques in a consistent manner. The LTBP Program protocols represent a comprehensive and continuous documentation of the entire LTBP Program, from selecting a structure, through onsite data collection, and ultimately answering the guiding questions associated with the top performance issues identified by the stakeholders.

This report includes the first version of the LTBP Program protocols for documentation of legacy data, onsite pretest activities, visual inspection, sampling and testing of concrete materials, nondestructive testing of bridge elements, and data storage. As the program proceeds, additional protocols will be developed to cover other activities necessary for data collection, management, processing, and analysis. Also, as the LTBP Program goes forward, experience may lead to improvements in the way the protocols are written and applied. Proper care will be taken to ensure that future changes in the protocols do not invalidate data collected using previous versions.



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