NCHRP Research Report 950 presents the development of two AASHTO guides for bridge preservation including a general guide to preservation of highway bridges and a guide to preservation of highway bridge decks. Both guides are based on comprehensive data collection, cost and benefit analyses, and developing of catalogs of bridge element preservation actions. The material in this report can be implemented into any bridge management system and will be of immediate interest to bridge engineers to ensure public safety and preserve bridges.
Many transportation departments have significant practical experience with bridge preservation and have developed conclusions regarding the effectiveness of bridge preservation actions based on those experiences. However, limited efforts have been made to identify, measure, evaluate, and document the short- and long-term performance of specific bridge preservation actions. Bridge preservation consists of actions to deter or correct deterioration of a bridge to extend its useful service life and does not entail structural or operational improvements beyond the originally designed strength or capacity of the bridge. Often practitioners apply preservation strategies on the basis of judgment or common sense using available resources. However, it is difficult to translate these strategies into coherent and convincing arguments in the absence of a quantitative measurement of bridge preservation effectiveness.
Research was performed under NCHRP Project 14-36 by the University of Colorado Boulder to develop bridge and deck preservation guides for possible adoption by AASHTO. The proposed AASHTO guides were developed based on data collected from representative agencies and include: (1) catalogs of bridge element preservation actions and (2) the criteria and selection methodologies of bridge preservation actions with associated costs and benefits for use in life cycle cost analysis and possible integration into a bridge management system.