SME provides engineering inspection and evaluation of bridges. Our inspections follow federal, state and local guidelines pertaining to evaluation, assessment and reporting of the conditions of the structures, from reviewing structure information, performing field inspection, and preparing summary reports. Our reports include prioritized repair recommendations and can include repair cost estimates and conceptual designs as required by the client.

Our bridge inspection team is fully trained and certified in the Federal Highway Administration’s courses on Safety Inspections of In-Service Bridges and Fracture Critical Techniques for Steel Bridges. SME is also MDOT pre-qualified for Safety and Scoping Inspections, and INDOT qualified for bridge inspection team leader including complex structures. SME can help owners and managers by offering bridge inspections and analyses, and by providing confidence in the condition of your structures.

SME offers a variety of inspection services depending on your needs and structure details.

Safety Inspections

A Safety Inspection is a visual condition assessment of bridge structural and safety components and includes a condition summary report which includes element ratings, photographs, sketches and maintenance and repair recommendations. The Federal Highway Administration requires that roadway bridges must be assessed during a safety inspection at a frequency of not more than 24 months.

In-depth Inspections

An In-Depth Inspection is required where more access, testing and condition evaluation is necessary than during a safety inspection. These inspections are typically based on findings and recommendations from a safety inspection and include specialized measurements, testing and analysis in addition to routine inspection requirements.

Fracture Critical Inspection

A Fracture Critical Inspection identifies and provides an evaluation of the bridge component subject to tensile forces without load path redundancy. These elements are typically the main supporting components of the bridge and require special attention, access and evaluation. This inspection is in addition to a routine Safety Inspection.

Railroad and Pedestrian Bridges

In addition to the roadway structure inspections described above, SME’s bridge inspection team provides inspection of railroad bridges, pedestrian bridges and building entrance bridges. Though their design, loading and behavior are generally different from roadway structures, these bridges are subject to the same environmental and use conditions that lead to deterioration that requires repair. Generally inspected at different frequencies, these structures require the same condition assessment and evaluation as roadway bridges.

Load Rating and Analysis

Additionally, SME can assist a bridge owner or manager by providing Load Rating and Analysis Services. Bridges are designed to carry various loads from cars, trucks, trains and pedestrians. Load rating and analysis of a structure and its components provides specific loading limits under various operating conditions. Main structural elements have an "as-built" and "as-inspected" condition and load rating outlining their capacity. Structure and element deterioration leads to reduced capacity. To process overload permits and effectively plan for maintenance and capital programs, bridge owners need to know structure and individual member capacity in addition to the condition. SME's load rating and analysis services can help you plan effectively and avoid surprises.

Asset Management Planning

SME can assist bridge owners/managers with developing, maintaining or updating bridge asset management plans. Built from the detailed information provided by bridge inspections and appraisals, the asset management plan is a critical tool bridge owners/managers need to preserve, maintain and replace structures in an efficient, cost-effective manner. The comprehensive plan uses updated bridge inventory conditions and repair needs to estimate costs and to plan maintenance and construction activities. With limited federal and state project funding, the asset management plan helps owners/managers prioritize projects with available funding, and address short, near and long-term repair needs.

Our bridge experts are well-versed in inspection procedures and reporting requirements, maintenance and repair prioritization, resource identification and allocation, cost-effective solution planning, and programmatic planning for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timed-based goals. We can provide a full range of professional bridge inspection and asset management services from field inspection to completed plan and funding applications.  

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