Communicating the Value of Bridge Preservation

Author: Ed Welch, NCPP-Bridge Preservation Engineer

Perspective of: Drew Storey, INDOT Maintenance Management Operations Analyst, and Jeremy Hunter, INDOT Bridge Asset Engineer.

Drew and Jeremy were willing to do a joint interview giving the reader a broader perspective of INDOT’s answer to “Communicating the Value of Bridge Preservation”.

  1.   Present Involvement: It is discouraging that in informal conversations with consultants they have a ”push back” perspective (not big proponents) when it comes to doing  Bridge Perseveration Contracts. These are traditionally not large projects and are not cost effective to the consultant. As a resolve to this INDOT is considering a conference on the Value of Bridge Preservation.
  2. INDOT is trying to get in “The Preservation Mode” and they feel that the TSP2 National Conference was a great avenue for “Communicating the Value of Bridge Preservation”.

  3. Today: We must drive the need for Preservation. Give all Owners (States and Locals) the funding and skills to accomplish this. Get to it early as a dedicated program. Start with Specifications. This will move the needle of your Average Bridge Condition from Poor towards Good. The earlier you get to Preservation the better.
  4. The future: Need to promote Preservation on the Local Agency level thru the Local Agency Director. Steer Locals to put a percentage towards Preservation. Most local programs in place only address replacement.
  5. Needs: We need Metrics; Cost Benefit is the metric that owners are looking for. We need to agree how to measure future cost effectiveness (with examples).Internal buy-in is most important, but Legislators and the Public have to be involved as well. Surveys to the Public expose their understanding of needs and where marketing or training is needed.
  6. Locals:  Some sort of forum to show Local Agencies that they are saving money with Preservation needs to be incorporated in your program.
  7. Frustration: The Consulting Industry, large and small, need to see the benefits of Bridge Preservation. Ultimately Owners, Industry and our Bridges will be better off. INDOT understands that they can’t do it the way that they always have.
  8. In Closing: We need a “National Bridge Preservation Credo” that bluntly defines the need and value of Bridge Preservation.

Please post a comment on “Communicating the Value of Bridge Preservation”. Hopefully, Drew and Jeremy’s joint perspective from the INDOT/Owner side will instill further perspective on how we can meet the challenge of getting the word out about Bridge Preservation.

7 thoughts on “Communicating the Value of Bridge Preservation

  1. Agreed. We in Missouri are working on the preservation of bridges by concentrating on the following:

    1. Bridge Cleaning and Flushing
    2. Bridge Deck Sealing and Crack Filling
    3. Expansion Joint Repairs

    By implementing these programs we expect to extend the life of our structures.

  2. We have been embracing preservation for 35+ years at SDDOT and it is really a part of our culture now. It would be different to not do preservation.

    The one big advantage of preservation work is that your bridge structures can stay in good condition or fair condition and very few will ever get to a poor condition.

    Another way to embrace preservation is as part of the original design – whether it be designing without bridge joints (integral abutments), proper materials, and/or other items that can make it easier to maintain the bridges later.

    Great article and thanks for sharing Drew and Jeremy.

  3. Louisiana DOTD has been using bridge preservation and bridge preventative maintenance contracts with consultants for several years now. I have never heard of any “push back” from consultants in Louisiana. The contracts have been an effective tool for preserving the state’s bridges. The DOTD, traveling public and commerce, as well as consultants have benefited from these contracts.

  4. We’ve had experience with a pretty good group of consultants who are eager to help us with bridge preservation work. I would still like to see us do a better job of communicating the value of preservation to the traveling public.

  5. MAP-21 further complicates the need to focus more on bridge preservation. With the focus on SD DA, it will be more of a challenge for PennDOT to start driving bridge preservation projects on the TIP. The key to communicate effectively to internal and external customers is to show accurate results associated with deterioration modeling.

  6. We need to be clear on this point — preservation and the resulting ownership of the bridge is based on good old-fashioned work, and we won’t quit trying to make folks understand that this project is fiscally sound, it has addressed the risks with ac

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