highway interchange ramps in downtown Providence RI

Program will use integrated approach and advanced technologies to better understand bridge performance

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has awarded the Rutgers Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT), as prime contractor, a competitive five-year contract worth up to $25.5 million for the FHWA Long-Term Bridge Performance (LTBP) program.

The LTBP program is envisioned as a 20-year research study to expand quality information available on bridge performance in order to help bridge and highway managers make better decisions. This study will be the first to collect uniform bridge performance data at the national level.

The funding for this contract was authorized by Congress in 2005 under the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU).

Over the next five years, the CAIT team will inspect, document, evaluate and periodically monitor a representative sample of bridges nationwide, taking advantage of advanced condition monitoring technologies in addition to detailed visual inspections. The high-quality data gathered in the process and the subsequent data analysis and mining aim to significantly enhance our knowledge of bridge performance.

Among the study’s objectives are improved life-cycle cost and predictive models, better understanding of bridge deterioration and more effective maintenance and repair strategies. LTBP results should also support improved design methods and bridge preservation practices and help develop the next generation of bridges and bridge management systems.

“Limited resources and aging infrastructure require that bridge owners efficiently manage the nation’s highway bridges,” said CAIT Director Ali Maher, the contract’s principal investigator. “This will entail a good understanding of their performance, and to do that, we can no longer afford to look at bridges as isolated components in our highway infrastructure. CAIT’s integrated approach to the LTBP data collection task will take into account how engineering, environmental, operational and functional factors intersect and interact and how all those things affect how a bridge performs.”

The CAIT team will begin work in May of this year and plans to complete the pilot program by the end of 2009. It will then continue with the data collection goals of the program through 2012. At that point, findings will be presented to Congress for program reauthorization and continued funding through 2028.

“As a premier corridor state, New Jersey depends on the continued safe, efficient operation of its tens of thousands of miles of bridges and roadways,” said Assemblyman John S. Wisniewski, chairman of the New Jersey Assembly’s Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities Committee. “By intelligently applying the cutting-edge resources of Rutgers’ CAIT – as we are on the LTBP project – we can work to ensure that our state, and the country, continue to have a state-of-the-art transportation system well into the 21st century.”

Partnering with Rutgers CAIT are Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB), an infrastructure consulting and engineering firm; the Utah Transportation Center at Utah State University; the Virginia Transportation Research Council, University of Virginia and Virginia Tech; the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Berkeley; Siemens Corporate Research; Bridge Diagnostics, Inc. and Advitam. The Rutgers, Utah State and Berkeley programs are U.S. Department of Transportation-designated University Transportation Centers, conducting educational, research and technology transfer programs on transportation infrastructure and systems. Each partner will contribute specific capabilities and expertise and will have a distinct role in carrying out the initiative.
FHWA selection of the CAIT team for this crucial program reinforces Rutgers’ status as a national leader in transportation education and research. Work on the LTBP program will begin immediately.

April 2008

Press contact:

LTBP Principal Investigator and Program Administrator
Ali Maher, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

LTBP Principal Industry Partners
Thomas A. Fisher, P.E., Vice President
Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB)

Andrew J. Foden, Ph.D., P.E., Supervising Engineer, Professional Associate
Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB)