In 2020, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Committee on Bridges and Structures (COBS) completed a project to investigate the use and effectiveness of the current AASHTO LRFD Bridge Construction Specifications (BCS). The project included a questionnaire to each state to determine the use of the document, a review of the document contents, the development of a prioritized approach for reorganizing and maintaining the document, and the development of prioritized recommendations for updating the document. The study concluded that the AASHTO LRFD BCS is being used by many state transportation agencies (STAs) on a regular basis, justifying future updates and maintenance. The study recommended (1) converting the document to a guide specification, (2) adding commentary similar to the AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specifications, and (3) updating existing content and adding new content as needed to be consistent with current industry standards and STA specifications. The study provided options for reorganizing the AASHTO LRFD BCS.
Research is needed to develop recommendations for updating the bridge construction requirements to be considered by the AASHTO COBS in its next update to the AASHTO LRFD BCS.
The objective of this research is to develop recommendations for effective bridge construction requirements that align with current bridge design and construction methods to provide clear expectations and minimize ambiguity.
Accomplishment of the project objective will require at least the following tasks.
Task 1. Conduct a literature review of state-of-the-practice documents on bridge construction requirements/provisions. The review shall include published and unpublished research conducted through the NCHRP; FHWA; industry groups; and other national, state, and pooled-fund sponsored research. The review shall include AASHTO's “Evaluation and Updating of the AASHTO LRFD BCS Final Report” (BCS Report) and other national and industry specifications and guides that include bridge construction requirements/provisions.
Task 2. Synthesize the results of the literature review to identify the knowledge gaps related to the research objective. These gaps should be addressed in the final product or the recommended future research as budget permits.
Task 3. Propose a plan, to be executed in Phase II, to achieve the research objective. At a minimum, the plan shall include:
- A recommended approach for reorganizing the AASHTO LRFD BCS content, including references and commentary, using the Reorganization Option 1 presented in Section 4.1 of the BCS Report as a starting point. Updates may include modifying existing language and adding or deleting content.
- A review of each section of the AASHTO LRFD BCS to develop recommendations for additions/changes/deletions.
- A priority list for updating the sections of the AASHTO LRFD BCS.
- A preliminary outline and table of contents of the draft language being proposed for consideration by AASHTO to incorporate in the next update of the AASHTO LRFD BCS (hereafter called AASHTO Deliverable).
- A template for the proposed requirements to maintain consistency across all sections/subsections. The format shall meet the current AASHTO formatting guidelines.
- A process to track changes and identify source documentation for changes and additions to facilitate future maintenance.
- A plan to identify and engage stakeholders (e.g., industry, organizations, etc.) to seek input on the state of the practice.
- A plan to collaborate with the AASHTO COBS technical committees to incorporate their ongoing initiatives that impact the construction specifications and facilitate implementation.
Task 4. Prepare Interim Report No. 1 that documents Tasks 1 through 3 and provides an updated work plan for the remainder of the research. The updated work plan must describe the process and rationale for the work proposed for Phase II.
Task 5. Execute the plan according to the approved Interim Report No. 1 and update the preliminary outline, table of contents, and format of the AASHTO Deliverable after consideration of the panel’s review comments.
Task 6. Develop a complete sample section of the AASHTO Deliverable to be selected by the NCHRP. This section should be publication-ready with an appropriate level of detail. Include documentation of engagement with stakeholders and COBS technical committees.
Task 7. Prepare Interim Report No. 2 that documents Tasks 5 and 6 and provides an updated work plan for the remainder of the research. The updated work plan must describe the process and rationale for the work proposed for Phase III.
PHASE III—Draft Language Development
Task 8. Develop the remaining sections of the AASHTO Deliverable according to the approved Interim Report No. 2.
Task 9. Prepare Interim Report No. 3 that documents Task 8 and provides an updated work plan for the remainder of the research no later than 6 months before the contract end date. The updated work plan must describe the process and rationale for the work proposed for Phase IV.
PHASE IV—Final Products
Task 10. Revise the AASHTO Deliverable after consideration of the panel’s review comments.
Task 11. Plan and conduct an in-person workshop with the panel to review the draft AASHTO Deliverable. Revise the draft AASHTO Deliverable according to the outcomes of the workshop.
Task 12. Submit the final deliverables, including (1) the AASHTO Deliverable, (2) a final report that documents the entire research effort, and (3) a stand-alone technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products.”
STATUS: A research agency has been selected for the project. The contracting process is underway.