The National Academies

NCHRP Synthesis 20-05/Topic 55-12 [Active (Synthesis)]

Bridge Construction Inspection Training Resources and Practices
[ NCHRP 20-05 (Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $55,000
Authorization to Begin Work: 4/27/2023 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Sandra Q. Larson
Research Agency: Tran and Associates, LLC
Principal Investigator: Dan Tran
Fiscal Year: 2024

Final Scope

State departments of transportation (DOTs) rely on construction inspectors to verify that construction work on transportation infrastructure projects is in compliance with all contract documents (e.g. construction plans including plan notes, special provisions) and meets both process and quality expectations.

Effective bridge construction inspection requires technical skills and knowledge specific to bridges. Much of the expertise and experience has been lost through attrition, reducing the ability of less experienced inspectors to be mentored on-site. Additionally, contracting methods, technology, and procedures for conducting, documenting, and communicating construction inspection have evolved.

To develop inspector knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) for effective bridge construction inspection, proper training is needed. The current practice for training inspectors in bridge construction across state DOTs varies greatly. This synthesis will investigate roles and responsibilities, training approaches, processes, programs, and resources in place at state DOTs that could be of value to other state DOTs in training and managing their bridge construction inspection.

The objective of this synthesis is to collect resources and document practices used by state DOTs in training and/or setting qualifications of the bridge construction inspection workforce.

Information to be gathered includes (but is not limited to):

  • Organizational structure for bridge inspection and inspector responsibilities and minimum qualifications;
  • Resources and tools used for training, including manuals, pocket guides, and checklists;
  • Types of training used for bridge construction inspection, including classroom- based, on-the-job training, mentoring, and online/virtual-based, self-paced;
  • Types of training used for bridge construction inspection, including classroom-based, on-the-job training, mentoring, and online/virtual-based; 
  • Opportunities and requirements for bridge construction inspection certification;
  • Training opportunities and roadmap for inspector career advancement;
  • Core competencies (e.g., KSAs) needed to perform bridge construction inspection;
  • Written training materials, documents, reports, and curricula, including when materials are revised/updated;
  • Collaborations with local training centers, colleges, and universities to provide training; and
  • Performance information on the effectiveness of training.

Information will be gathered through a literature review, a survey of state DOTs, and follow-up interviews with selected DOTs for the development of case examples. Information gaps and suggestions for research to address those gaps will be identified.

Information Sources (Partial):

  • NCHRP Research Report 1027: Guide to Recruiting, Developing, and Retaining Transportation Infrastructure Construction Inspectors (2023)
  • FHWA’s Construction Program Management and Inspection Guide (2004).

TRB Staff (consultant)

Sandra Larson

Phone: 515-971-6329

Email: slarson@nas.edu


Meeting Dates

First Panel: September 28, 2023, Washington, DC

Teleconference with Consultant: October 30, 2023, 2-3 pm Eastern

Second Panel: June 27, 2024, Washington, DC, Keck Center


Panel Members

Ross Barron, Nebraska Department of Transportation

John Belcher, Michigan Department of Transportation

Carolyn Brugman, Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Jose Capa Salinas, Purdue University

Shunyi Chen, North Carolina Department of Transportation

Cheryl Hersh Simmons, Utah Department of Transportation

Brian Rampulla, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation

Tuong Linh Warren, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

Nelson Gibson, Transportation Research Board

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