Bridge Inspections Related to Bridge Scour

by Lawrence J. Harrison, Federal Highway Administration, Washington, United States,
David H. Densmore, Federal Highway Administration, Washington, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Hydraulic Engineering


The failure of the Silver Bridge over the Ohio River in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, on December 15, 1967 resulted in the establishment of the National Bridge Inspection Standards (NBIS) under the 1968 Federal-aid Highway Act. Each State highway agency has a bridge inspection organization that is responsible for the formulation and conduct of inspections. All of the 577,000 bridges on the National Bridge Inventory are inspected on regular intervals not to exceed two years. The Federal Highway Administration publication 'Recording and Coding Guide for Structural Inventory and Appraisal of the Nation's Bridges' (Coding Guide) documents over 100 items that State highway agencies report on for each bridge inspection. Revisions in 1988 included greater emphasis and reporting detail on stream stability and bridge waterway items. These have been part of the inspection reporting scheme under the Coding Guide since the inspection of the program. The 1988 revised NBIS and associated Technical Advisory 5140.21, Revisions to the NBIS, also included coverage of underwater inspection and scour critical bridges. This paper presents the management of the NBIS as it relates to scour at bridges and how the items inspected and reported on are integrated into a comprehensive scour and stream stability program. The overall goal is to assure the safety of the traveling public and the integrity of bridges.

Subject Headings: Highway bridges | Bridges | Inspection | Scour | Aging (material) | Bridge failures | River bank stabilization | Rivers and streams | Ohio River | West Virginia

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