Condition States for Highway Bridges

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by George Hearn, (M.ASCE), University of Colorado at Boulder,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Advanced Technology in Structural Engineering:

Abstract: Condition ratings are important to automated decisions on actions for maintenance, repair and replacement of bridges. Bridge management systems use condition ratings to identify bridges that need repair now, or are expected to need repair within a selected planning period. Condition states, the definitions of ratings, determine what is reported and what kinds of decisions can be supported. The relation of condition states to decisions and planning activities has been increasingly recognized, prompting new definitions of condition states as a part of the development of bridge management systems. Damage, reported as poor condition ratings, is one factor that triggers repair or replacement actions for bridges. There are other factors such as functional inadequacies and vulnerability to sudden failure. Actions are needed for deficient bridges; that is for bridges where damage, or function, or vulnerability is unacceptable. Each factor, damage, function, and vulnerability, can be expressed as condition, and can be reported as condition ratings. Bridge condition is, simply, the need for action. By mapping condition states explicitly to actions, a consistent basis for creation of condition states is obtained. For each action, the sufficient conditions in damage, function or vulnerability are established. These sufficient conditions become definitions of condition states. The number of feasible actions determines the number of condition states. Inspections and assessments of bridges are selected to detect the conditions specified in the state definitions. Beginning from actions, a system for definition of condition states, for selection of inspection and testing operations, and for coordinated examination of deficiencies is achieved. This paper proposes a framework for definition of condition states for damage, function, and vulnerability according to the actions that are needed.

Subject Headings: Highway bridges | Bridge management | Terminology and definition | Ratings | Highway and road conditions | Rehabilitation | Systems management | Damage (structural) | Bridges | Inspection |

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