The National Academies

NCHRP 14-29 [Completed]

Assessing, Coding, and Marking of Highway Structures in Emergency Situations

  Project Data
Funds: $399,655
Research Agency: Oregon State University
Principal Investigator: Michael Olsen
Effective Date: 11/1/2013
Completion Date: 3/11/2016

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 was 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, in a format that facilitates acceptance and adoption by AASHTO and organizations generally responding to emergency situations affecting highway structures.    


STATUS: Research is complete. The project developed (a) an Assessment Process Manual and (b) Coding and Marking Guidelines.  The Assessment Process Manual—intended for managers who will oversee the emergency response—identifies technologies that are appropriate for each structure type and addresses prioritization, coordination, communication, and redundancy.  The Coding and Marking Guidelines are intended as a field manual for preliminary damage assessment responders who will evaluate the highway structures.  In addition, the project produced Preliminary Damage Assessment Forms for each structure type, Development Guidelines to help create a Smart App for the assessment process, and four types of training material to further help highway agencies and other emergency response organizations with the implementation of the developed manual and guidelines.  This training material includes: (a) general training for the general audience who will interface with those involved in the assessment process, (b) basic training for damage assessment responders, (c) specialized training for managing engineers who will oversee the assessment process, and (d) a quick refresher for damage assessment responders on the most relevant procedures for preliminary damage assessment. The research report has been published as NCHRP Report 233. The Assessment Process Manual, Coding and Marking Guidelines are published as Volumes 2 and 3, respectively, of the report.  The Guidelines for Development of Smart Apps will be available on the TRB website (www.trb.rg) as NCHRP Web-Only Document 223.  To facilitate use, the assessment forms and training material will be posted on the NCHRP Report 833 summary page and will be available by searching the TRB website for NCHRP Report 833.


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