FHWA Announces Proposal to Improve Bridge Inspection Program

The Federal Highway Administration has issued a proposed rule to improve oversight of U.S. bridge inspections by incorporating a risk-based approach and encouraging the use of such technological advancements as unmanned aerial systems and sonar.

The proposal seeks to comply with provisions contained in MAP-21. The 2012 transportation reauthorization law established new requirements for the National Bridge Inspection Standards program, maintaining a bridge inventory, and reporting to FHWA bridge inspection results — especially, critical findings of structural or safety-related deficiencies. It also would require the agency to address “ambiguities” identified since the last update to the program in 2009.