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February 19, 2013 Mr. Victor M. Mendez Administrator Federal Highway Administration U.S. Department of Transportation 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE HOA-1, Room E87-314 Washington, DC 20590-9898 Dear Mr. Mendez: Re: 3rd letter report of the TRB Long-Term Bridge Performance (LTBP) Committee I am writing to report the findings and recommendations of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) LTBP Committee that were developed at its meeting on November 27-28, 2012. Mr. Ananth Prasad and Mr. Malcolm Kerley, Committee Chair and Vice Chair, respectively, were unable to attend due to last-minute scheduling conflicts, and I served as Acting Chair for this meeting. The committeeâs membership roster is attached. As you know, this Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) long-term program is addressing the challenges faced by federal, state, and local transportation agencies in the operation and maintenance of their deteriorating highway bridges. The program will collect research-quality data on a large representative sample of in-service U.S. highway bridges and 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 data collection and analysis will also help evaluate the effectiveness of intervention options in ameliorating this deterioration. Through a contractual arrangement with FHWA, the National Research Council of The National Academies provides advice and assistance on the conduct of the LTBP program through the work of its TRB LTBP Committee. The agenda1 of this meeting consisted of briefings by FHWA staff and contractors, each followed by a question-and-answer period and discussion. The topics included the status of the LTBP program; information provided by the durability and preservation, evaluation and monitoring, and traffic and truck weights expert task groups (ETGs); and update reports on the bridge portal, reference and cluster2 bridges, traffic corridors, mid-Atlantic states field testing plans, and automated data collection. Additional topics included the LTBP strategic plan, the LTBP data analysis plan, supporting FHWA studies, LTBP publications, and a new FHWA truck pooled-fund study. 1 See Attachment 1. 2 A âclusterâ, in the context of the LTBP program, is a geographically compact group of bridges that will be studied as part of a representative sample of U.S. highway bridges. 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 Phone (202) 334-2934 Fax (202) 334-2003 www.TRB.org
At the conclusion of these open sessions, the committee held a closed session to deliberate on its findings and formulate its consensus recommendations, which are summarized here: â¢ [LR03/01]3 We are pleased that the LTBP Team recognizes that the LTBP program enables them to harvest near-term products while the program's long-term goals are pursued. As the strategic data analysis and data collection plan becomes more detailed and is implemented, projects undertaken midway in pursuit of a goal often produce findings that state agencies can incorporate immediately into their operations. Additionally, research by other FHWA offices conducted in parallel with LTBP, such as the performance of unpainted weathering steel bridges, or the pooled fund weigh-in-motion (WIM) study, just to mention two, will enhance the FHWA's role of addressing the needs of the U.S. bridge community. â¢ [LR03/02] We note that significant progress has been made in defining candidate bridges for inclusion in the first few clusters, focusing effort on data collection and analysis to answer important questions, and awarding four contracts for conducting assessments and field monitoring of the first clusters. We support enthusiastically plans to continue the quarterly newsletter as a means of sharing information with LTBP stakeholders. â¢ [LR03/03] We share with the LTBP Team its excitement over the addition to the team of Mr. Aramis LÃ³pez. While we regret the departure of Dr. Firas Ibrahim, who was instrumental in developing and launching the LTBP program, and whose leadership of it was highly evident, we are certain that LTBP will benefit substantially from the closer collaboration with the Long-Term Pavement Performance (LTPP) program that the assignment of Mr. LÃ³pez facilitates. We welcome Mr. LÃ³pez, and look forward to a productive collaboration with him as LTBP matures. To the extent that it is practical, LTBP should continue to interface with and learn from LTPP what are the most efficient and effective ways to plan and execute the data collection, data analysis, and product development activities of the program. â¢ [LR03/04] As in our earlier meetings, we have discussed the committee's role with the LTBP Team and agree that we are to focus on programmatic matters, and will rely on our expert task groups (ETGs) to review and report on LTBP's technical issues. The committee will continue to receive ETG reports, and will consider that information when we prepare our letter reports. Furthering this consideration of our role. we would welcome receipt of a brief assessment by the LTBP Team of the impact that we and our ETGs have had on the program to date. This information will help us focus our future feedback to maximize productivity. â¢ [LT03/05] The new schedule of one meeting per year, as proposed by the LTBP Team, presents challenges to the relevance of these meetings and the timeliness of the advice they are intended to generate. LTBP is an active and multi-faceted program that appropriately confronts and resolves problems as soon as they occur, and makes progress and applies results continually. In this fast-paced environment, procedures are 3 Each findingârecommendation pair is shown as a âbulletâ that is given a unique designator of [letter report number/recommendation number] to facilitate future referencing. The usual format of a bullet consists of a paragraph summarizing the committeeâs finding and a paragraph containing the committeeâs recommendation. The latter paragraph appears in italicized and underlined type. 2
needed that will keep the committee and ETGs informed and able to participate in the problem resolution process. The plan to conduct 2-hour webinars midway between meetings is a step in this direction, but a more detailed plan of long-distance interactions and exchanges of correspondence and reading materials is needed. We request further discussion of the measures by which the LTBP Team proposes to keep the committee informed about the program's ongoing decision-making process. â¢ [LR03/06] We have noted, and our ETGs have reported, that informational materials are rarely provided in advance of a meeting. The brief time at a meeting for receipt and discussion of material renders the comments and advice we are able to provide preliminary at best. In many instances, we learn that written material has been drafted but is not considered ready for distribution to us. Further, our ETG meetings, in particular, would be more productive if we received advance copies of the questions for committee response or issues for group discussion. This would permit meeting time to be used to maximize dialog and interaction. Background information or program updates that support the questions or issues could be included. We invite the LTBP Team to work with us to explore ways to share interim materials with us at least one week in advance of meetings. â¢ [LR03/07] We congratulate the LTBP Team for developing an extensive roster of protocols for field testing of bare bridge decks, and for conducting a series of pilot tests to evaluate them. We have reviewed these protocols, and are pleased that efforts are under way to incorporate changes based on our comments. Still, as the program's field testing now proceeds beyond the pilot test stage, our questions remain concerning which parameters will be monitored and analyzed. We recommend that a list of performance parameters be developed, and the data to be collected and equipment to be used specified, for the field tests that are to be conducted first. As this testing is to begin early in 2013, we request receipt of this information as soon as possible. â¢ [LR03/08] We congratulate the LTBP Team for its preliminary drafting of a strategic data analysis and data collection plan, and we look forward to its further development. We are pleased that this plan reflects the experience of the LTPP program, especially its being founded on stated objectives, from which necessary technical results will be identified, and the requisite data to be collected and analyzed will be specified. At an earlier meeting, we commented on the need for LTBP to identify the end products that it would seek to deliver. We believe this strategic data analysis and data collection plan will help focus the efforts to produce these products. Currently, the products being sought are deterioration and life-cycle cost models for bridge decks. Continuing evaluation of the progress of the program in developing and delivering these products is encouraged. We recommend that the further development of this strategic plan be given high priority by referencing it officially as the LTBP Data Analysis and Collection Plan, and by preparing 3
Attachment 1 Agenda TRB Long-Term Bridge Performance Committee November 27-28, 2012 The National Academiesâ Keck Building 500 Fifth Street NW, Washington DC, 20001 This committee provides an ongoing peer review of the Long-Term Bridge Performance (LTBP) Program, which is a 20-year research effort to measure and monitor the performance of a nationally representative sample of bridges. The committee reviews the LTBP Program's plans, operations, progress, and products, and provides advice to the FHWA on the Program's strategic plan; data definition, standardization, quality control, and collection efforts; sampling plan; and overall R&D program management and direction. Tuesday, November 27, Keck 201 1:00 â 1:15 pm Welcome and Introductions Robert Raab, Ananth Prasad, FHWA 1:15 â 1:30 pm Review of Role, Scope, and Operations of the TRB Advisory Committee Ananth Prasad, Robert Raab 1:30 â 2:15 pm Reports from 3 Expert Task Groups (ETGs) Bruce Johnson, Jugesh Kapur, Sreenivas Alampalli 2:15 â 3:00 pm LTBP Program -- Update -- FHWA Response to Letter Report #2 Hamid Ghasemi Hamid Ghasemi 3:00 â 3:15 pm Break 3:15 â 3:45 pm Bridge Portal Rob Zobel 3:45 â 4:30 pm Clusters and Corridors Update, Mid-Atlantic States Rollout, and Automated Data Collection Hamid Ghasemi 4:30 â 5:00 pm Strategic Plan and Data Analysis Plan (Tablecloth) Sue Lane, Dennis Mertz 5:00 pm Adjourn Wednesday, November 28, Keck 201 8:00 â 8:20 am Closed Session: Biases and Conflicts of Interest Robert Raab 8:20 â 8:30 am Scheduling of Next Meeting Robert Raab 8:30 â 9:30 am LTBP Program Updates -- Supporting Studies -- Publications --Truck Pooled-Fund Study Rob Zobel Sue Lane Tom Saad 9:30 â 9:45 am Break 9:45 â 12:00 pm Closed Session: Committee's Consensus Recommendations Ananth Prasad, Robert Raab 12:00 pm Adjourn 5
Attachment 2 ROSTER OF THE TRB LONG-TERM BRIDGE PERFORMANCE COMMITTEE INDICATING ATTENDANCE1 AT THE MEETING OF NOVEMBER 27-28, 2012 Ananth K. Prasad, Chair Secretary Florida Department of Transportation JOHN M. KULICKI Chairman and CEO Modjeski and Masters, Inc. Malcolm T. Kerley, Vice Chair Chief Engineer Virginia Department of Transportation RICHARD D. LAND Chief Deputy Director (Interim) California Department of Transportation R. SCOTT CHRISTIE Deputy Secretary for Highway Administration Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Sandra Q. Larson Research and Technology Bureau Director Iowa Department of Transportation W. Gene Corley Senior Vice President CTL Group ANDRZEJ S. NOWAK Professor University of Nebraska KARL H. FRANK Chief Engineer Hirschfeld Industries KENNETH D. PRICE Vice President, National Bridge Practice HNTB Corporation BRUCE V. JOHNSON, Acting Chair State Bridge Engineer Oregon Department of Transportation JUGESH KAPUR State Bridge and Structures Engineer Washington State Department of Transportation 1 Attendees of the meeting are indicated in underlined bold capital italics. 6