A Framework for Historic Bridge Preservation



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In an inevitably occurring process, bridges possessing historic, artistic, and engineering significance deteriorate and must be maintained and rehabilitated in order to be kept in service. Ideally, all potentially significant bridges would be properly preserved and continue to beautify and bring character to their surroundings for years to come. However, funding is currently limited for transportation projects in general, and even more so for historic bridge preservation, which some may consider less critical in comparison to other transportation needs. Because of this limitation on resources, it is important that bridge-owning agencies use proper planning and management strategies in order to make the best use of available funding. This thesis presents a framework designed to assist agencies in this process. The framework is devised specifically for TxDOT for use in Tarrant County, Texas, but can be used as a model for agencies anywhere with some modifications to fit the inventory under evaluation. Included in the framework are a methodology for prioritization of bridges within an inventory, guidance on financial and legal procedures, identification of potential funding sources, summary and review of condition assessment practices and bridge mitigation strategies, a template for individual bridge preservation plans, and a framework for resource allocation within a bridge inventory. It can be concluded from this research that early detection of defects, preventive maintenance, condition assessment beyond routine inspection, adjustment of evaluation methodology, and use of engineering judgment when using numerical evaluation methods are critical components of proper management of historic bridges.