AASHTO Bridge Element Inspection Manual
Copyright by AASHTO American Association of State Highway and Transportation
The Bridge Element Inspection Manual builds on the element-level condition assessment methods developed in the AASHTO Guide for Commonly Recognized Structural Elements, which it replaces. Improvements have been made to fully capture the condition of the elements by reconfiguring the element language to utilize multiple distress paths within the defined condition states. The multi-path distress language provides the means to fully incorporate all possible defects within the overall condition assessment of the element. The overall condition of an element can be utilized in this aggregate form, or broken down into specific defects present as desired by the agency for Bridge Management System (BMS) use. The Bridge Element Inspection Manual provides a comprehensive set of bridge elements that is designed to be flexible in nature to satisfy the needs of all agencies. The complete set of elements capture the components necessary for an agency to manage all aspects of the bridge inventory utilizing the full capability of a BMS.
This Manual is intended as a resource for agencies performing element level bridge inspections. It replaces the AASHTO Guide to Commonly Recognized Structural Elements (1994) and its interims as a reference for standardized element deﬁnitions, element quantity calculations, condition state deﬁ nitions, element feasible actions, and inspection conventions. AASHTO would like to recognize the dedication and tireless efforts of Michael B. Johnson of the California Department of Transportation and Paul Jensen of the Montana Department of Transportation in writing this manual.
AASHTO would also like to thank the following Steering Committee members for their support and guidance in developing this manual.
The proper assessment of the condition of bridge elements is the cornerstone of sound bridge management. The introduction of element inspection condition methods in the early 1990s represented a significant advancement in the bridge inspection practice and has been adopted by the vast majority of all State Transportation Departments in the United States. Bridge owners nationwide have recognized the benefits of detailed condition assessments through the use of the raw inspection information, expanded performance measures, and bridge management system deterioration forecasting and evaluation. As the use of element level inspection techniques has proliferated, the need for improvements has been identiﬁ ed.
This manual incorporates improvements through changes in the measurement units of decks and slabs, the development of a wearing surface element, the standardization of the number of element states, the development of a protective coating element, and the incorporation of expanded element Smart Flags. The goal of this manual is to completely capture the condition of bridges in a simple way that can be standardized across the nation while providing the ﬂ exibility to be adapted to both large and small agency settings. This manual is not intended to supplant proper training or the exercise of engineering judgment by the inspector or professional engineer, AASHTO Bridge Element Inspection Manual.