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2nd Edition, January 1, 1994

Complete Document

Manual for Condition Evaluation of Bridges

Includes all amendments and changes through Interim Amendment , 2003

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Superseded By: AASHTO MBE

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Description / Abstract:

This Manual has been developed to assist Bridge Owners by establishing inspection procedures and load rating practices that meet the National Bridge Inspection Standards (NBIS). The Manual has been divided into seven sections, with each section representing a distinct phase of an overall bridge inspection and load rating program.

Section 1 contains introductory and background information on the maintenance inspection of bridges as well as definitions of general interest terms. Key components of a comprehensive bridge file are defined in Section 2. The record of each bridge in the file provides the foundation against which changes in physical condition can be measured. Changes in condition are determined by field inspections. The types and frequency of field inspections are discussed in Section 3 as well as specific inspection techniques and requirements. Conditions at a bridge site may require more elaborate material tests, and various testing methods are discussed in Section 4. Field load testing is a means of supplementing analytical procedures in determining the live load capacity of a bridge and for improving the confidence in the assumptions used in modeling the bridge. This is described in Section 5. Section 6 discusses the load rating of bridges and includes optional rating methods. The evaluation of fatigue and other special conditions are discussed in Section 7.

The successful application of this Manual is directly related to the organizational structure established by the Bridge Owner. Such a structure should be both effective and responsive so that the unique characteristics and special problems of individual bridges are considered in developing an appropriate inspection plan and load capacity determination.


The purpose of this Manual is to serve as a standard and to provide uniformity in the procedures and policies for determining the physical condition, maintenance needs and load capacity of our Nation's highway bridges.