BACKGROUND: Several state DOTs have adopted processes for assessing, coding, and marking of highway structures in the event of emergencies resulting from natural or man-made disasters. However, these processes do not provide a uniform means for conducting these assessments or a common form of coding and marking. Also, these processes do not generally address the different highway structure types or the ranges of traffic levels. In addition, many of these processes do not explicitly consider the practices of other organizations that often respond to such emergencies with assistance. These issues tend to impede the effectiveness of involved organizations in dealing with these situations and may lead to undesirable consequences. Assessing, coding, and marking highway structures are necessary for ensuring safety in the event of emergencies. However, there is a need for employing uniform processes for conducting these assessments and guidelines for coding and marking. A widely accepted process is not currently available; research is needed to develop a process for assessing highway structures and guidelines for related coding and marking that can be recognized and adopted by highway agencies and all other organizations that respond to such emergencies. This information will help highway agencies and these organizations deal more effectively with the situation and provide a safer condition for the public.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this research is to develop (a) a process for assessing highway structures in emergency situations, (b) guidelines for coding and marking, and (c) selected training and implementation material. These materials shall be prepared in a format that facilitates acceptance and adoption by AASHTO and organizations generally responding to emergency situations affecting highway structures.
Accomplishment of this objective will require at least the following tasks.
Phase I: (1) Collect and review relevant domestic and foreign literature; research findings; and information relative to the assessment, coding, and marking of highway structures following an emergency. This information may be obtained from published and unpublished reports, survey of state DOTs, and contacts with the transportation agencies and other public and private organizations involved in emergency situations affecting highway structures. This review may also consider the practices employed for non-highway structure emergency situations that appear relevant to highway structures. (2) Identify and evaluate practices and technologies used for assessing, coding, and marking highway structures in emergency situations. (3) Based on the evaluation performed in Task 2, recommend methods that could be used in a process for rapid assessment of highway structures in emergency situations appropriate for nationwide adoption. (4) Prepare an updated, detailed work plan for Phase II that includes an approach for developing (1) a process for assessing highway structures in emergency situations, (2) guidelines for related coding and marking, and (3) training and implementation material to facilitate use recognizing that these project deliverables are intended for state DOTs and other organizations involved in emergency situations. (5) Prepare an interim report that documents the research performed in Tasks 1 through 4. Following review of the interim report by the NCHRP, the research team will be required to make a presentation to the project panel. Work on Phase II of the project will not begin until the interim report is approved and the Phase II work plan is authorized by the NCHRP. The decision on proceeding with Phase II will be based on the contractor’s documented justification of the updated work plan.
Phase II: (6) Execute the plan approved in Task 5. Based on the results of this work, develop the process for assessing highway structures in emergency situations, the guidelines for related coding and marking, and the training and implementation material. (7) Submit a final report that documents the entire research effort. The assessment process, the coding and marking guidelines, and training and implementation material shall be prepared as stand-alone deliverables suitable for consideration and adoption by AASHTO and other organizations involved in emergency situations affecting highway structures.
Status: Research in progress.