Communicating the Value of Bridge Preservation

Dick Dunne

Author: Ed Welch, NCPP-Bridge Preservation Engineer

Perspective of: Dick Dunne, Director of Structural Engineering services, Michael Baker, Inc.

Dick is the former NJDOT Bridge Engineer and brings both an Owner and Consultant perspective to this topic.

Dick’s Key Points on Communicating the Value of Bridge Preservation:

  1. Dick’s involvement: Every chance I get, I communicate in general terms with Owners, and fellow Consultants the need for Bridge Preservation.
  2. Looking at both sides: I feel that with quality based selection of consultant bids for Bridge Preservation Contracts is the answer for better quality of contract documents and project outcome. It captures the real needs of the owner. In other words: You must properly compensate a quality consultant for quality work. Don’t consider a Bridge Preservation Contract insignificant. They are the key to the most effective fiscal management.
  3. Today: TSP2 has made a great start in a short time. NHI Web Based training is an effective option. TRB AHD37 is a great move forward for Bridge Preservation Research. AASHTO SCOM T-9 and SCOM BPTWG are terrific avenues in the bridge community. All/some of these initiatives should be taken advantage of and will each promote the communication of Bridge Preservation in their own way.
  4. The future: We need to communicate more and when you think about it, Bridge Preservation needs to be linked to Asset Management. Owners need to invest (not spend) in their Assets with a preservation perspective.
  5.  Needs: We need Research that quantifies the benifit6s of Bridge Preservation, Syntheses and Case Studies are what the community is looking for. Also, marketing and lobbying should be considered an investment not a cost.
  6. Frustration: The Front Line Management is far removed from the Executives that create programs. Unfortunately, we are now referring to our “Operations Program” not “Maintenance and Preservation Programs” which is really “Reactive” not “Proactive”
  7. 7.  In Summary: Our greatest need is Quantifying the Benefits of Bridge Preservation. Sharing this information is the second half of this single need. Find real data and communicate the positive value whenever you get the chance.

Please post a comment on “Communicating the Value of Bridge Preservation”. Hopefully, Dick Dunne’s joint perspective from the Owner and Consultant side of the same issue will be food for thought and help us move forward as we promote the stewardship of our nations.

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