The National Academies

NCHRP Synthesis 20-05/Topic 49-03 [Active (Synthesis)]

Bridge Demolition Practices
[ NCHRP 20-05 (Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $45,000
Authorization to Begin Work: 6/2/2017 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Jo Allen Gause
Research Agency: Collins Engineering
Principal Investigator: Michael Garlich
Effective Date: 11/14/2017
Fiscal Year: 2017

Final Scope

Hundreds of bridges are reconstructed or replaced every year. The AASHTO Load and Resistance Factor Design (LRFD) Bridge Design Specifications identify the minimum bridge design requirements, while the AASHTO LRFD Bridge Construction Specifications stipulate the bridge construction aspects. However, very limited information is available to guide the owner on how to approach deconstruction or the removal aspects of an existing bridge; each state approaches this differently.

Unintentional events during bridge demolition can result in bodily harm, project delays, traffic disruptions, and in some instances loss of life. For example, last year two worker fatalities occurred on two separate occurrences due to the collapse of a bridge structure while undergoing demolition. Departments of transportation (DOTs) need to better understand how to manage these projects to reduce risks associated with bridge demolition.

The objective of this synthesis is to document practices used by bridge owners to manage and administer bridge demolition in construction projects. The synthesis will explore specifications, design details, stability requirements, contractor submittal review/approval processes, contractor responsibility, owner oversight, and acceptance. The study will include information for partial, phased, and total bridge demolition.

Information to be gathered includes, but is not limited to the following:
• Owner’s existing policies, specifications, and special provisions to address bridge demolition activities.
• Current provisions in the AASHTO Bridge Design and Construction Specifications that address bridge demolition.
• Typical bridge demolition submittals, (drawings, calculations, sequence narratives, etc.) required by bridge owners
• Owner’s internal processes used to perform bridge demolition submittal reviews, including the level of review detail, reviewer(s) qualifications, and the types of acceptance.
• Existing processes and methods used by the owner’s construction management engineer
or field representatives to conduct oversight during demolition and protocols used to initiate and cease demolition activities.
• Contractor feedback on the requirements, degree of review, assumption of risk, and oversight implemented and administered by owners for bridge demolition related activities.

Information will be gathered through literature review, survey of state DOTs, interviews with selected contractors, and interviews with selected DOTs for case examples. The survey will be directed to state
bridge engineers. An 80% survey response rate is required.

Information Sources (Partial):

Garber, David. “Compilation of Results from Bridge Demolition DOT Survey” Final Report – Phase I, Florida International University Accelerated Bridge Construction University Transportation Center, Sept. 2016.

State DOT Standard Specifications, Bridge Manuals, Special Provisions, etc. 

TRB Staff
Jo Allen Gause
Phone: 202-334-3826
Email: jagause@nas.edu

Meeting Dates
First Panel: November 14, 2017, Washington, DC
Teleconference with Consultant: December 14, 2017, 2:00 p.m., EST
Second Panel: August 21, 2018, Washington, DC

Topic Panel
Hussam Z. "Sam" Fallaha, Florida DOT
Bruce V. Johnson, Oregon DOT
Malcolm T. Kerley, NXL
Kyle Kopper, Michigan DOT
Carin L. Roberts-Wollmann, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Carmen E. L. Swanwick, Utah DOT
Hoda Azari, FHWA
Nelson H. Gibson, Transportation Research Board 


To create a link to this page, use this URL: http://apps.trb.org/cmsfeed/TRBNetProjectDisplay.asp?ProjectID=4387