The National Academies

NCHRP 20-59(03) [Completed]

Support for the FHWA/AASHTO Blue Ribbon Panel on Bridge and Tunnel Security

  Project Data
Funds: $79,804 ( FHWA supplied an additional $63,200 to co-fund this project)
Research Agency: Science Applications International Corporation
Principal Investigator: Michael C. Smith
Effective Date: 10/15/2002
Completion Date: 9/18/2003


Following the events of 9-11, bridge and highway infrastructure engineers are faced with the new and unexpected challenge of providing physical security to critical transportation structures. While the 9-11 attacks targeted buildings, threats made against bridges and tunnels and other highway infrastructure in various parts of the United States have heightened awareness about this new threat. Bridge and highway engineers are being asked how vulnerable these structures are and what can be done to reduce this vulnerability. Bridge engineers have developed systematic processes for assessing vulnerability to a variety of natural processes (earthquakes, fatigue, scour, etc.), but engineers are rarely equipped to answer terrorism-related questions. A Guide to Highway Vulnerability Assessment for Critical Asset Identification and Protection (SAIC, May 2002, under NCHRP Project 20-7/151B) was prepared under the auspices of the AASHTO Task Force on Transportation Security to assist transportation engineers, law enforcement agencies, and other public and private sector entities address this threat. Further, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has long considered how to make key structures more resilient against enemy attack and is using this knowledge to assist engineers determine how best to reduce the vulnerability of structures to terrorists attacks. In addition, to develop and transfer knowledge rapidly within the bridge community to improve structure protection against attack, a series of workshops was developed and delivered (under NCHRP Project 20-59(2)).


In order to provide guidance to bridge owners, the Federal Highway Administrator is appointing members to the FHWA Blue Ribbon Panel on the Safety and Security of Highway Bridges and Tunnels. Support for this initiative is being provided at the request of the AASHTO Security Task Force.


Task 1. Submit a summary of the state of the practice to BRP members for their use.
Task 2. Prepare for, facilitate, and report results from four FHWA Blue Ribbon Panel meetings.
Task 3. Submit a Final Report to FHWA

Status: A final report was submitted to AASHTO in August 2003. The report has been published by FHWA and is available on the FHWA website as: "Recommendations for Bridge and Tunnel Security" (Last updated September 25, 2003 by FHWA) by download in PDF at https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/bridge/security/brp.pdf
or in HTML at https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/bridge/security/brpcover.htm

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