Decision-Making for Highway Bridge Safety

Illustrations © FHWA

Highway bridge owners in most countries routinely assess bridge damage and deterioration to ensure structural performance for the safety of the traveling public and the reliable movement of goods and services. While in service, bridges experience a variety of incidents involving damage or deterioration. Owners discover this damage or deterioration primarily under two sets of circumstances. First, damage or deterioration resulting over longer periods of time is generally discovered and monitored through regular and routine inspection. Second, damage or deterioration associated with a transient event or incident and is reported by the traveling public, law enforcement or, in some cases, those responsible.