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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

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Protocol Worksheets for Data Collection



This study was conducted as part of the Federal Highway Administration’s Long-Term Bridge Performance (LTBP) Program. The LTBP Program is a long-term research effort, authorized by the U.S. Congress under SAFETEA-LU, the “Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users,” to collect high-quality bridge data from a representative sample of highway bridges nationwide that will help the bridge community to better understand bridge performance. The products from this program will be a suite of data-driven tools, including predictive and forecasting models that will enhance the ability of bridge owners to optimize their management of bridges.

In order to ensure that LTBP Program data are collected in a consistent manner over the duration of the program, data collection protocols are being developed for use by LTBP researchers. This report presents 51 protocols that will be used throughout the LTBP Program for data collection, mining of bridge legacy data, visual inspection, sampling and testing of concrete materials, and nondestructive evaluation of bridges, as well as data management and storage. Future versions will present additional protocols that will be implemented in the LTBP Program studies as well as any modifications deemed necessary to the 51 protocols herein. This report will be of interest to practitioners, researchers, and decision makers involved with the research, design, construction, inspection, maintenance, and management of bridges.

Jorge E. Pagán-Ortiz
Director, Office of Infrastructure
Research and Development


This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for the use of the information contained in this document.

The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers' names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document.

Quality Assurance Statement

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides high-quality information to serve Government, industry, and the public in a manner that promotes public understanding. Standards and policies are used to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of its information. FHWA periodically reviews quality issues and adjusts its programs and processes to ensure continuous quality improvement.


Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No.


2. Government Accession No. 3 Recipient's Catalog No.
4. Title and Subtitle

Long-Term Bridge Performance Program Protocols, Version 1

5. Report Date

January 2016

6. Performing Organization Code
7. Author(s)

John M. Hooks—J. M. Hooks & Associates
Jeff Weidner—Intelligent Infrastructure Systems

8. Performing Organization Report No.

9. Performing Organization Name and Address

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
The Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation
100 Brett Road
Piscataway, NJ 08854-8058

10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)

11. Contract or Grant No.


12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

Office of Infrastructure Research and Development
Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center
Federal Highway Administration
6300 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22101-2296

13. Type of Report and Period Covered

Final ReportFinal Report

14. Sponsoring Agency Code


15. Supplementary Notes

FHWA Contacts: Susan Lane, HRDI-50 and Yamayra Rodriguez-Otero, HRDI-50

16. Abstract

The Long-Term Bridge Performance (LTBP) Program is a long-term research effort to collect scientific performance data from a representative sample of bridges in the United States. Data will be collected for in-service bridges using a variety of techniques. These data will be supplemented with legacy data from design plans, design and construction specifications, as-built plans and construction records, inspection and maintenance records, weather records, and traffic data. To maintain consistency in the manner in which data are collected and stored, a set of protocols has been developed. These protocols provide guidance on what kinds of information to obtain from existing bridge records and how each field testing activity is to be conducted; how to identify and classify the defects and how to measure their extent; and how to document the location and severity of the defect in the bridge element being evaluated. The protocols also specify the accuracy to which defect measurements are to be recorded. This report presents protocols for the collection and mining of legacy data, site preparation, visual inspection, sampling and testing of materials, nondestructive evaluation, and data storage and management. Future versions of this report will include additional protocols covering other activities, data collection methods, and analysis and reporting protocols for the LTBP Program.

17. Key Words

Bridge, bridge inspection, Long-Term Bridge Performance Program, LTBP, testing protocols, data collection

18. Distribution Statement

No restrictions. This document is available through the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA 22161.

19. Security Classification
(of this report)


20. Security Classification
(of this page)


21. No. of Pages


22. Price


Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72) Reproduction of completed page authorized

SI* (Modern Metric) Conversion Factors


Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. Organization and Designations of the LTBP Program Protocols

Chapter 3. How to Use the LTBP Program Protocols
Chapter 4. LTBP Program Protocol Content

Chapter 5. Protocol Development and Publication Plan

LTBP Program Protocols


Previsit Protocols (PRE)
Existing Documentation (ED)

Preliminary Planning and Logistics (PL)

Field Visit Protocols (FLD)
Onsite Pretest Activities (OP)

Field Data Collection (DC)

Data Storage (DS)





AASHTO American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials  
ABC accelerated bridge construction 
ABET accreditation board for engineering and technology 
ASR alkali-silica reaction  
ASTM american society of testing and materials 
BIRM bridge inspectors Reference manual 
BLOB binary large object 
CIP cast-in-place  
CSE copper sulfate electrode 
DEF delayed ettringite formation  
DMI distance measuring instrument  
FHWA federal highway administration 
HCP half-cell potential 
HDR high-dynamic range  
IE impact echo 
LPR linear polarization resistance  
LTBP long-term bridge performance  
MPT maintenance and protection of traffic 
NBIS national bridge inspection standards 
NDE nondestructive evaluation 
NICET national institute for certification in engineering technologies 
OSHA occupational safety and health administration 
PPE personal protection equipment  
SSD saturated-surface-dry 
TSA thaumasite sulfate attack  
USW ultrasonic surface wave  
UT ultrasonic testing 
w/c water-cement (ratio) 
Units of measure used in this report: 
dB decibels 
Hz hertz  
kips 1,000 lb 
kΩ/inch kilo-ohm per inch 
psi pounds per square inch 
ksi kips per square inch 
ns nanosecond 
μA/cm2 microAmps per centimeter square 
mA milliAmp 
mV milliVolt 
pcf pounds per cubic ft 
USD U.S. dollar 
V Volt  




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Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center | 6300 Georgetown Pike | McLean, VA | 22101