In 2020, the AASHTO Committee on Bridges and Structures (COBS) completed a project that investigated the use and effectiveness of the current AASHTO Load and Resistance Factor Design (LRFD) Bridge Construction Specifications (BCS). This project included a questionnaire sent to each state department of transportation (DOT) to determine the use of the document, a review of the document contents, the development of a prioritized approach for reorganization and maintenance of the document, and the development of prioritized recommendations for re-writing the document. The survey revealed that the BCS is being used by many state DOTs on a regular basis, and that there are areas that may be improved:
1. Some reorganization of the sections is needed. Newer sections seem to have been simply tacked on to the end of the document. Several reorganization options were developed, each with its advantages and disadvantages.
2. Most sections in the document have very little commentary. The addition of commentary to the AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specifications had been a significant improvement over the original Standard Specifications. The BCS could benefit from a similar effort.
3. Many of the sections need updating to current standards and practices and reformatting to be consistent with industry and state DOT specifications. Some sections require more attention than others as some have been maintained by AASHTO technical committees since adoption of the document by AASHTO in the late 1990s.
The objective of this proposed research is to bring the document up to current standards and construction practices, which will make it more useful to bridge owners. The final products will be an updated document that may be adopted by the AASHTO Committee on Bridges and Structures.
The wholesale adoption of a national construction specification is not realistic; however, a guide specification can be a useful document in the development of state DOT specific standard construction specifications. Having a national construction guide specification as the basis for state specifications will help to foster uniformity of construction specification across state lines.
There is a need to provide uniformity of construction practices and specification as many contractors work across state lines. A revised AASHTO LRFD Bridge Construction Specification document will help to improve quality, durability and uniformity of bridge construction.