Guide: What Are The Different Types of Bridge Inspections, Their Frequencies and Costs?

This blog discusses the 8 different types of bridge inspections, their frequencies and costs.


To be able to write this blog we had to resort to an expert in the field, Mark Bendok, P.E., S.E., a Project Manager and Senior Associate at Alfred Benesch & Co. who has more than 20 years of experience in the industry.


The reason why a blog was dedicated for that topic is the absence of a fast and easy way to access this information in one shot. Our hope is that this blog becomes the go-to guide for up and coming Bridge Inspection Engineers and a refresher for senior ones.


Type 1: Initial Inspection


Definition:

An initial inspection is the first inspection performed on a vehicular bridge after its

construction. The data collected as a result of this inspection is used for the Structure Inventory & Appraisal (SIA) of the bridge.


Frequency:

One time after initial construction and after subsequent rehabilitation

Cost:


Complexity level

🌟: $500-$1,500

🌟🌟: $1,500-$5,000

🌟🌟🌟: $5,000-$50,000


Type 2: Routine Inspection


Definition:

This type of inspection is performed for all vehicular bridges.


Frequency:

24 months; could be 12 months or 48 months


Cost:

Complexity level

🌟: $500-$1,500

🌟🌟: $1,500-$5,000

🌟🌟🌟: $5,000-$50,000

Type 3: In-depth Inspection


Definition:

The in-depth inspection is similar to the routine inspection however, it’s more detailed. Bridge Inspection Engineers tend to perform a closer look at the structure for a more detailed examination, especially the hard to reach elements.  


Frequency:

72 to 96 months


Cost: Complexity level

🌟: $600-$1,800

🌟🌟: $1,800-$6,000

🌟🌟🌟: $6,000-$60,000

Type 4: Underwater Inspection


Definition:

An underwater inspection is performed on bridge elements at or below the waterline. Typically for water depths greater than 4 feet.


Frequency:

60 months; more frequent for deteriorating underwater elements and known scour issues

Cost:

Complexity level

🌟: N/A

🌟🌟: $5,000-$10,000

🌟🌟🌟: $10,000+

Type 5: Fracture Critical Member Inspection

Definition:

This type of inspection is only performed on specific bridges that have fracture critical members (FCM). FCM are bridge elements that are:

  • Made up of steel (i.e. not concrete or timber)

  • Receive tension loads (not compression loads)

  • Non-redundant load path

Frequency:

24 months; more frequent for members with excessive defects

Cost:


Complexity level

🌟: $600-$1,800

🌟🌟: $1,800-$6,000

🌟🌟🌟: $6,000-$60,000

Type 6: Special Inspection


Definition:

This inspection takes place if there’s at least one element of a bridge that needs special attention. 


Frequency:

1 to 24 months.

Cost:

Complexity

🌟: $500-$1,500

🌟🌟: $1,500-$5,000

🌟🌟🌟: $5,000+

Type 7: Damage Inspection

A damage inspection is unscheduled and takes place in the case of emergency such as fires, accidents, hurricanes, etc. The cost depends on the extent of the damage but it’s usually upwards of $5,000.


Type 8: Load Rating Inspection

A load rating inspection is unscheduled and takes place in the case of change in the bridge loading or a change in a bridge section due to deterioration. This inspection involves the measurement of section loss.  The cost depends on the extent of the deterioration, type of bridge and type of software(s) used.


Do you have to know all these types of inspections to be hired?

It is not required that you master all these types of inspections to be hired. Mark says that they hire structural engineers and teach them on the job.

Can multiple type of inspections apply for the same bridge?

Many of these inspections can be applied to the same bridge. Mark mentioned that they are currently working on a project that involved five different types of inspections on the same bridge. He said that often times, inspections will be performed in parallel. For instance, the routine and fracture inspection can be completed in parallel given that they have the same inspection cycle. If planned properly, conducting inspections in parallel could save up to 20%.


To learn more about how to properly plan your inspection please check out this blog. We cover the various items involved in planning and give a feel of how much time and money you should budget for planning.


About Data Recon:

Data Recon is the Bridge Inspection Software that proved to help engineering firms reduce their reporting cost by 80%, their inspection time by 30% and generate their reports 5x faster. Schedule a free demo instantly here.

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