Safety Inspections of VDOT Bridges and Highway Structures

Bristol District, Virginia

The KCI team performed safety inspections for various types of bridge and sign structures within the Bristol District of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).

Bridge Inspections. All bridge inspections were performed in accordance with the requirements of 23 CFR 650 Subpart C – National Bridge Inspection Standards and VDOT’s Structure and Bridge Division Instructional and Informational Memorandum (IIM) Number S&B-27.6. The KCI team also performed Pontis element level bridge inspections in accordance with 23 CFR 500 (C), Management and Monitoring Systems, and the VDOT Element Data Collection Manual.

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The inspections were primarily visual in nature. However, areas needing maintenance, areas with known defects, fracture critical or fatigue sensitive details were inspected using hands-on techniques utilizing inspection access equipment where necessary. Each inspection team included a team leader who was fully experienced in the type of structure to be inspected and who met the qualification requirements of the 23 CFR 650 Subpart C – National Bridge Inspection Standards. Where non-destructive testing of structure components was required, the KCI Team furnished fully qualified technicians and/or engineers who were certified according to VDOT’s Material Division’s Certification Program for non-destructive testing.

More than 40 bridge inspections and reports were completed. These bridges ranged from structures on the interstate highway system to single lane structures located in remote mountainous regions of southwest Virginia. The structures crossed interstate highways, local roads, active railroads, rivers and streams and required a multitude of different traffic control setups ranging from total road closures with detours to lane and shoulder closures on and below the bridges being inspected. Access equipment included ladders, manlifts, bucket trucks and snoopers. Up front research was performed in order to make the most economical and efficient use of equipment, for each specific structure or group of structures. The KCI team rigorously followed the OSHA regulations relating to fall protection, confined space restrictions, and exposure to toxic materials such as creosote, lead paint and bird droppings. The structures inspected ranged in size from single-span 70-foot-long structures to an eight-span, 1,800-foot-long bridge.

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Inspection reports were prepared for each structure including color photographs and sketches that describe the conditions of each structure. The reports also included evaluation, repair and/or rehabilitation recommendations to ensure long-term, cost-effective service of the structures and, if requested, cost estimates for the work recommended.

Sign Structures. Engineers conducted detailed, hands-on inspection of 167 overhead sign structures along the interstate routes in and around Norfolk and Virginia Beach. Inspections were performed at night, and limited to four nights per week. Deliverables were required within a very tight schedule—all signs had to be inspected and all inspection data/reports submitted to VDOT in a two-month time-frame. The project required very complex traffic control requirements with lane closure time restrictions that varied by location, and close coordination with VDOT Traffic Operations Center. To meet the schedule, the firm assigned multiple inspection teams with multiple bucket trucks and traffic control teams. Inspections were performed in conformance with VDOT Procedures for Inventory & Inspection of Traffic Control Device Structures.