On July 5, 2016, TRB’s Long-Term Bridge Performance (LTBP) Committee sent its seventh letter report to Gregory Nadeau, administrator of the U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The committee provides advice and assistance on the conduct of the LTBP program, which is designed to collect research-quality data on a large representative sample of in-service U.S. highway bridges and to analyze these data to improve understanding of the mechanisms and timing of bridge deterioration due to the effects of age, materials, traffic, and weather.
The report includes recommendations to finalize, adopt, and implement the LTBP Business Plan; add to the Business Plan how deterioration and life-cycle cost modeling methodologies will be calibrated and used; define the research results and products that LTBP will deliver so that state agencies can ascertain what they may be required to develop in order to use these products; include in further live demonstrations of the LTBP Bridge Portal more specific queries that show state agencies the benefits of using the portal to access NDE and inspection data; and develop a plan for simplifying the use of the portal as a source of information concerning the LTBP program and the highway bridges being studied.
Additionally, the report recommends that LTBP focus on steel girders as the next step in LTBP research and consider also proceeding where feasible to study treated decks (all overlays except for asphalt); reinstate, as soon as the necessary protocols are developed, research addressing asphalt overlays on bridge decks; conduct audience-specific webinars highlighting the benefits to be derived from the program be developed; delineate, prioritize, and quantify LTBP's activities and develop contingency plans for continuation of the program at high, medium, and low levels of funding reduction; expand LTBP's outreach activity to include more information about what has been accomplished and what has been planned, including information about the LTBP Bridge Portal and the WIM pooled fund partnership.
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