A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers employee performing a bridge inspection.

Bridge Inspection and Evaluation

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The North Atlantic Division’s Regional Center of Expertise for Bridge Inspection and Evaluation provides the professional engineering expertise to conduct bridge inspections as necessary to ensure the continued safety of our public and project bridge inventory. The USACE Philadelphia District owns and maintains five high-level bridges and six short span bridges. The Bridge team is responsible for inspection, maintenance, and repair of these bridges, most of which were constructed from the 1940s through the 1990s. The team inspects at least one in-house high-level bridge each Fiscal Year.

Our expertise includes:

  • Fully capable and certified for bridge inspection and evaluation of short span and high-level complex bridges
  • Twelve qualified inspectors – Successful Completion of the 80-hour National Bridge Inspection Standards (NBIS) Safety Inspection course
  • Inspectors trained in fatigue and fracture, CEBIS management, scour evaluation, and load rating
  • Twelve personnel certified as Society of Professional Rope Access Technicians (SPRAT) rope access technicians capable of accessing any area on a bridge structure. Eleven are certified as Level I rope access technicians with the capability to climb and access any area and one is certified as a Level II rope access technician capable of providing rigging and access to any area. The team owns rigging and safety equipment to deploy these twelve rope access technicians for technical climbing.
  • Familiar with USACE, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), American Association of State Highways and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), and NBIS regulations
  • Access to structures is facilitated using special equipment, rigging, or rope access. Inspectors are certified to operate manlifts.
  • The team owns a UB-62 under-bridge access vehicle and a man lift.
  • Rental vehicles are utilized on remote projects.
  • All inspectors are engineers with technical capabilities to evaluate strength of existing bridges and to design structural retrofits that may be necessary.

The typical inspection begins with a review of the bridge history as well as prior reports and to identify pre-existing condition and define scope. A project management plan is then developed to define the inspection procedure as well as determine team members, safety requirements, equipment, and quality control needs.

The approach roadway, deck, superstructure, substructure, and channel are then inspected and evaluated both visually and with hand tools. Fracture critical members are inspected hands-on, full length. The thickness measurements of questionable steel members are recorded with ultrasonic thickness gauges.

A scope of work is then developed for any necessary underwater inspections. Then, a report is prepared, and all data is recorded in the Corps of Engineers Bridge Inventory System (CEBIS). Typical data includes structural inventory and appraisal, commonly recognized element data, critical inspection data for all components, recommendations for future action, cost estimate for recommended repairs, inspection drawings and photographs.

Finally, an Independent Technical Review is conducted. If structural evaluation or repair is necessary, the team is fully qualified and capable to perform these tasks after inspection.

Bridge Program Manager: 215-656-6646

Engineering Management: 215-656-6920, 215-200-2339