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TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH BOARD OF T HE NATTONA t ACADtrT4Â¡E5 August 3,2012 Mr. Victor M. Mendez Administrator Federal Highway Administration U.S. Department of Transportation 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE HOA-1, Room 887-314 Washington, DC 20590-9898 Dear Mr. Mendez: Re: 2nd letter report of the TRB Lono-Term Bridqe 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 May 30-31 ,2012. The committee's membership roster is attached. The LTBP program is a long-term program of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to address the challenges faced by federal, state, and localtransportation agencies in the operation and maintenance of their deteriorating highway bridges. The objective of the program is 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 data collection and analysis will also help in evaluating the effectiveness of intervention options in ameliorating this deterioration. Through a contractual arrangement with FHWA, the National Research Council provides advice and assistance on the conduct of the LTBP program through the work of its TRB LTBP Committee. The agendal 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; findings and recommendations of the durability and preservation, evaluation and monitoring, andtraffic and truck weights expert task groups (ETGs); the reference and clustef bridge methodology; selection of the first clusters; addressing the needs of the bridge community; status of the bridge portal; outreach-plans for industry day; and documents for committee and ETG review. 1 See Attachment 1. 2 We understand that the term "cluster" means, in the context of the LTBP program, a geographically compact group of bridges that will be studied as part of a representative sample of U.S. highway bridges. THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES 500 Fifth Street, NW Phone (202) 334-2934Washington, DC 20001 Fax (202) 334-2003 www.TRB.orgÂ¡ldviÂ¡er fo fÃºe llalron onkience, EngÃmering, ond lÃºeifuine
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: . [LRO2/01]3 We congratulate FHWA's LTBP Team (the team) for the establishment of a single point of contact for, and coordinator of, the many groups and individuals who serye as contractors supporting the program. o [LR02/02] We thank the team for providing us with copies of LTBP's draft protocols and documents and with a recently created strategic plan to continue our learning about the program. Our productivity is bound to increase as our knowledge of the goals, activities, accomplishments, and plans of the program broadens and deepens. We suqqest that information about the LTBP proqram. especiallv the testinq protocols, be disseminated to stakeholders more quicklv. Measures to expedite the administration's document review and approval processes should be explored, developed, and implemented if feasible to speed the release of documents. We recommend that LTBP's strateqic plan be rewritten to increase its claritv and specificitv. The obiectives of the proqram (for example, "to develop pertormance-based criteria for maintenance and rehabilitation strateqv selection"l should be defined, and its products (such as software facilitatinq the use of such a data-driven decision-makinq tooll should be identified. The various iudqments bv bridqe owners that would be facilitated or improved bv new data- driven decision-makinq tools should be identified, as well as the data needed to support the development of these tools. Furthermore. mechanisms for delivery of these tools to the owners should be explored. o [LR02/03] LTBP's clustering methodology is based in part on the climate zone designations of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) (marine, hot-dry, mixed-dry, hot- humid, mixed-humid, cold, very cold), but the appropriateness of these zones to bridge performance is not explained. We agree that climate zones are pertinent to the design of bridge clusters in this investigation. Climate is among the many factors affecting bridge performance (deterioration) that the LTBP program will address, such as traffic volumes and loads, freeze-thaw cycles, deicing chemicals, rain, and high wind, as well as bridge design, construction, materials, age, and maintenance. We doubt, however, that adequate explanations can be provided for zones that relate to energy consumption and not to bridge performance. We recommend that LTBP adopt climate zone desiqnations that are more peÃtinent to a studv of bridqe pefformance and how structures composed of steel and concrete deteriorate because of direct and indirect environmentalfactors. For example, qiven that multiple freez*thaw cvcles and salt (either aqencv-applied in wintrv conditions or naturallv occurrinq in coastal areasl are known to cause bridqe deterioration. climate zones based on the presence or absence of these causes would be more pertinent to this research than DOE 3 Each finding-recommendation pair is shown as a "bullet" that is given a unique designator of fletter report number/recommendation numberl to facilitate future referencing. The usual format of a bullet consists of a paragraph summarizing the committee's finding and a paragraph containing the committee's recommendation. The latter paragraph appears in italicized and underlined type. 2
zones. . [LRO2/04] Data collection is the first step in any longterm performance research program. ln its pilot phase, LTBP has made significant progress in gaining hands-on experience in the collection of bridge data. However, the plan for achieving defined objectives and delivering identified products that are supported by this data collection is not yet evident. We recommend the devetopment of a data collection plan that supports the achievement of defined obiectives and the deliverv of identified products. To accomplish this. the maior factors affectinq bridoe performance should be listed, and the phvsical manifestations of these factors and their measurement should be addressed. The measurinq equipment and its instaltation, calibration, and maintenance should be discussed. Finallv, the measurement protocols and the timinq and freouencv of data collection should be determined. Retated to data coltection is data intesritv. What is it for LTBP. and how will it be achieved? e [LR02/05] We concur with the team that only a small number of the 600,000 U.S. highway bridges can be instrumented and studied in a research program of LTBP's size and resources. We congratulate the team for its strategy of studying carefully selected clusters of representative bridges. However, we are concerned that the decision to exclude bridges that are locally owned from the sample will leave out approximately half of the bridges in the United States. At its core, LTBP is an investigation into the causes and mechanisms of bridge deterioration. For LTBP to fulfill expectations that it is a comprehensive study of U.S. highway bridges to explain this deterioration, and to deliver products that can be used to improve performance and extend bridge life, the new knowledge and products must be applicable to all bridge types and loadings. We recommend the inclusion of tocallv owned bridqes in the studv and. even if the number of such bridges to be included is small. the development of products that are applicable to issues faced bv their owners. o [LR02/06] The team is congratulated for recognizing that outreach to the state agencies and other program stakeholders should begin early in the life of the program and continue throughout its term-and for undertaking a number of outreach efforts. t4le suoqesf fhaf LIEP seek fo use Enqineerinq News Record, Public Roads. and ofher public media to disseminate timelv information abaut the status of the prooram. ln addition. coordination of LTBP outreach with the outreach efforts of other research proqrams [such as the Strateoic Highwav Research Program 2 (SHRP 2ll should be explored as a means bv which each of these efforts could help the others. We would like to receive a briefinq at our next meetinq on LTBP's effotts in outreach coordination. Outreach, if successfullv implemented. will enqender feedback. and this is to be encouraqed. The future users of LTBP's products should have a voice in formulatino the product development plan. The team should welcome this input because it can help ensure that the proqram delivers products that bridqe owners need and want. Related to this is review of LTBP's data collection protocols bv state aoencies. The state aqencies will be the users of the protocols. so thev should have a sav in the protocols' development and refinement.
o [LR02/07] A research program as important and extensive as LTBP needs to monitor its progress continually, to sense and react to incipient problems, and to know whether it is progressing toward its predefined goals at an acceptable pace. An examination of the ways in which other large research programs (such as SHRP 2) conduct self-assessments of their progress is likely to suggest methods that are appropriate for LTBP. We suqqest that LTBP define what is "success" for the prooram and how it can be measured. We would like to know how the team plans to determine whether it is proqressinq at an acceptable pace toward meetinq the proqram's obiectives. ln simple terms. what is the report card? . [LR02/08] Access to LTBP data is a complicated matter. Some believe that data collected in a publicly funded project should be available to everyone. Others believe that these data, in the hands of people intent on causing harm, pose a threat to national security. Still others believe that people who are not professionally trained in analyzing and interpreting the data might draw incorrect conclusions and cause distractions for state agencies required to react to such misinterpretations. We suqqest that LTBP distinquish between measurement data and derived data and develop policies that address the matter of access to each of these data tvpes. The former consist of the numerical values that are collected in the laboratarv and in the field. The latter consist of the numerical values and indices that are calculated throuqh use of formulas or alqorithms to process the measured values. We suqqest further that everv effort be made to provide the widest possible access to LTBP's measurement data. but we caution that anv state-bv-state comparisons of derived data should onlv be released after the states involved have concurred. ln closing, as before, we recognize that the preparations for this meeting required extensive effort by many people. We appreciate everyone's efforts and particularly thank Firas lbrahim, Hamid Ghasemi, Susan Lane, Robert Zobel, and their colleagues for a highly informative and productive meeting. Ananth K. Prasad Chair TRB LTBP Committee Attachment 1: Attachment 2: Meeting agenda Roster of committee members indicating attendance at the meeting of May 30-31 ,2012
Attachment 1 Agenda TRB Long-Term Bridge Performance Committee May 30-31 ,2012 The National Academies' Keck Building 500 Fifth Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 20001 This committee provides an ongoing peer review of the 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 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. Wednesday, May 30, Keck 201 Thursday, May 31, Keck 201 7:30-8:00 a.m. Continental Breakfast 8:00-8:30 a.m. Welcome - lntroductions - Meeting Objectives - Administrative Matters Prasad Raab Trentacoste 8:30-9:30 a.m. Expert Task Group Reports - Bridge Durability and Preservation - Bridge Traffic and Truck Loads - Bridoe Evaluation and Monitorinq (on Mav 31) Raab Johnson Kapur 9:30-10:00 a.m. Letter Report No. 1 Raab Prasad FHWA 10:00-10:15 a.m. Break 10:15 a.m.-noon LTBP-Closinq the Loop FHWA Noon-1:00 o.m. Lunch 1:00-3:00 p.m. Reference and Cluster Bridge Methodology FHWA 3:00-3:15 p.m. Break 3:15-5:00 p.m. Selection of lnitial Clusters FHWA 5:00 o.m. Adiourn for the Day 7:30-8:00 a.m. Continental Breakfast 8:00-8:15 a.m. Expert Task Group Reports (continued) - Bridoe Evaluation and Monitorinq Alamoalli 8:15-9:45 a.m. LTBP-Addressing the Needs of the Bridge Community; Bridoe Portal FHWA 9:45-10:00 a.m. Break 10:00-10:45 a.m. LTBP Outreach-Plans for lndustry Day and Publications FHWA 10:45 a.m. -noon Soecific Reouests for Feedback FHWA Noon-1:00 p.m. Lunch 1:00-2:00 p.m. Closed Session-Committee Consensus 2:00 o.m. End of Meetinq 5
Attachment 2 ROSTER OF THE TRB LONG.TERM BRIDGE PERFORMANCE COMMITTEE INDICATING ATTENDANCEI AT THE MEETING OF MAY 3O-3I ,2012 ANANTH K. PRASAD. Chair BRUCE V' JOHNSONSecretary State Bridge Engineer Florida Department of Transportation Oregon Department of Transportation Malcolm T. Kerley, Vice Chair JUGESH KAPUR Chief Engineer State Bridge and Structures Engineer Virginia Department of Transportation Washington State Department of Transportation John E. Breen JOHN M' KULICK Nasser l. Al-Rashid Chair Emeritus Chairman and CEO University of Texas Modjeski and Masters, lnc. R SCOTT CHR'ST/E RICHARD D. LAND Deputy Secretary for Highway Chief Deputy Director (lnterim)Administration California Department of Transportation Pennsylvania Department of Transportation W. Gene Corley SATVDRA Q. TARSON Senior Vice President Research and Technology Bureau Director CTL Group lowa Department of Transportation KARL H. FRANK Chief Engineer Hirschfeld lndustries ANDRZEJ S. NOWAK Professor University of Nebraska Kenneth D. Price Vice President, National Bridge Practice HNTB Corporation 1 Attendees of the meeting are indicated in underlined bold capital italics.