Rutgers’ Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT) has been awarded a $25.5 million Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) competitive contract for a program that will improve the performance and longevity of bridges and elevated roadways across the United States. Work done under the FHWA Long-Term Bridge Performance (LTBP) program will expand our knowledge of bridge performance and provide additional insight into how, why, and how fast they deteriorate.
Another objective of the program is to optimize how funds for bridge improvements are allocated so as to better address the dire need for upgrades and repairs. To this end, LTBP scientists and engineers will develop condition assessment methods, more accurate predictive models, and better asset management and decision-making tools to help bridge and highway managers make more informed decisions when planning maintenance, rehabilitation, and replacement projects.
The first phase of this 20-year effort will entail inspecting, evaluating, and monitoring a broad representative sample of bridges throughout the country using state-of-the-art equipment as well as cutting-edge methods to analyze the information. This is the first time this sort of data will be collected and analyzed on a national scale. The high-quality quantitative information gathered on how bridges behave under various stresses and environmental conditions will then be used to:
develop a body of comprehensive uniform data on bridge characteristics and performance
determine effectiveness of particular maintenance and repair strategies
examine ways to increase durability for new bridge construction, including materials selection and development of innovative and high-performance materials
formulate the next generation of inspection and management protocols and standards
The $25.5 million will fund an initial pilot program through 2009 and Phase I through 2012. At that point, findings to date will be presented to Congress for program reauthorization and funding until 2028.
Collaborating with CAIT on the project are partners from government agencies, other University Transportation Centers, and industry. Rutgers’ CAIT will lead and administer the program, with PB Americas as its primary partner. Other team members include Utah State University, University of Virginia/Virginia Tech, University of California-Berkeley, Siemens Corporate Research, Bridge Diagnostics Inc., and Advitam. Each participating organization will contribute specific capabilities and expertise and will have a distinct role in carrying out the initiative. FHWA entrusting CAIT with this crucial program reinforces Rutgers’ status as a national leader in transportation education and research. Work on the LTBP program will begin immediately.