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9 In meeting its objective, this synthesis study has gathered deals with these issues to the extent that they relate to study information on current practices that agency CEOs and senior objectives. decision makers use to make network-level funding decisions for their bridges. It has asked how their bridge management This study is principally concerned with program- or net- processes are applied to these decisions. Information has work-level decision making. However, project-level concerns also been collected on future plans for upgrading and better have not been ignored. For example, project prioritization utilizing bridge management processes. The focus has been and selection are critical steps in building a network-level on both funding allocations for bridges in competition with program. Some agencies adopt an intermediate-level view other agency programs, and allocations within the bridge of project definition and evaluation, in which bridge projects program for replacement, rehabilitation, and maintenance are considered and developed at a corridor or subnetwork needs throughout the state. The information that has been level, consistent with the highway links they serve. Another gathered falls into a number of categories based on specific example concerns budget allocations to major bridge proj- items called for in the project scope of work, among them: ects, which can cost hundreds of millions of dollars and therefore have network-level ramifications. Also, if the scope An agency's overall approach to decision making on of a conventional bridge project changes, the funding avail- infrastructure investments able for other projects within the program also adjusts, as The current state of practice of bridge management, may their schedules. Finally, a BMS may perform network- including what factors are considered in the process, level calculations based on its project-level results. ongoing improvements by DOTs, and additional capa- bilities that are desired The organizational levels at which bridge program Study Methodology decisions are made--that is, who typically makes deci- sions in the following areas: infrastructure funding Information was gathered for this synthesis through a lit- allocations; selection of performance measures; fund- erature review, a survey of state transportation agencies, ing splits among maintenance/repair, preservation/ and interviews with chief engineers and bridge section rehabilitation, and replacement; and project selection engineers. Comparison of the information needed by senior deci- sion makers with that actually provided by the bridge The literature review contributed to the narrative management process/system describing the development of bridge management Use of economic methods such as LCC and cost-ben- practice over the past four decades. It established much efit ratios by senior managers of the general BMS state of practice and related tools-- Standard reports provided to decision makers and for example, specialized applications to optimize other stakeholders, including the general public bridge investments and perform trade-off analyses. The extent to which senior decision makers rely on Survey questionnaires were sent to all the states and BMS outputs or subjective judgment from the bridge Canadian provinces. The survey included three parts: management process Part A, broadly covering the bridge management pro- Suggested enhancements to existing bridge manage- cess and BMS; Part B, a budgeting component; and ment processes and systems. Part C, a planning component. The surveys were sent to agency bridge engineers, who were requested to dis- The collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis in tribute the second and third parts to the heads of bud- August 2007 brought several issues related to bridge man- geting and planning, respectively. Alternately, a bridge agement and bridge funding into sharper relief. These issues engineer who had the knowledge to do so had the option include the need to understand better the current status of to complete all parts of the survey. The survey results a bridge, the meaning of "structural deficiency" and its are discussed in chapter three and are a key source of implications for public safety and structure preservation, information on current agency practice. The complete and the adequacy of existing bridge program funding levels survey questionnaire is included in Appendix A. and eligibility requirements. Wider implications have been Ten chief engineers were interviewed to obtain an recognized regarding the accuracy and reliability of bridge executive perspective on bridge management and pro- inspections, potential needs for new inspection technology vide insights on bridge program funding decisions as and wider adoption of existing nondestructive evaluation part of planning, programming, and budgeting. Five techniques, and a need to reexamine the nation's approach engineers in the bridge unit (e.g., state bridge engi- to assessing and reporting current bridge conditions. All of neers and bridge maintenance engineers) were inter- these issues have arisen in the context of more than 12% of viewed to obtain specifics on how bridge management the nation's bridges being classified as structurally deficient, processes and BMS tools are used within their agen- and a lack of understanding of this concept among the public cies, and how they saw these capabilities supporting as well as concern as to what to do about it. This synthesis upper-level managers in their decision making. Both