Rapid Bridge Demolition Plan Review Guidance

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As the nation’s infrastructure ages and needs replacing removal of existing bridge structures increase, there is a greater need to remove or update the existing structures quickly and effectively. There are a number of methods to remove bridges, from explosives, jackhammers to hydrodemolition or chemical peel. The selection of the method depends on a number of variables, including speed of demolition, extent of removal, type of bridge, what the bridge is traversing (i.e., river, railroad, roadway, dry creek bed), and contractor equipment.

A 2011 report completed for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) found that 26 state Departments of Transportation (DOTs) have standard specifications, or other materials, including construction manuals or special provisions, regarding bridge removal plan requirements, while the remaining 24 states and the District of Columbia have no bridge removal plan requirements. In addition to the state level guidance, plan requirements are also provided in the AASHTO LRFD Bridge Construction Specifications. A review of the standards provided indicates a variety of expectations, including duration or review time, depth and quality of information, and information included in the plan provided. However, the only identified guidance regarding accelerated bridge construction bridge plan removal is from FHWA regarding a project in Iowa. Until now, there is no evidence of guidance for DOTs to use to review the information provided by the contractor in the rapid bridge demolition plan, which is the motivation of this research.

This research will develop rapid bridge demolition plan review guidance, based on a comprehensive literature review; surveys of DOTs, and demolition contractors and consultants; and a synthesis of the information obtained.

This research project will include seven tasks:

  • Task 1 – Literature Review – The research team will review available information from DOTs and academics regarding bride demolition plans and the review of these plans.
  • Task 2 – Survey of Department of Transportation – The research team will conduct a survey of DOTs to identify current review practices for bridge demolition plans.
  • Task 3 – Survey of Demolition Contractors and Consultants – The research team will also conduct a survey of the contractors and/or consultants developing the demolition plans to identify their considerations in developing the plans.
  • Task 4 – Development of Guidance – Based on the outcome of the first three tasks for this project, an outline of the proposed guidance will be developed. Once reviewed by the TAC, the team will then develop the full guidance document detailing review of demolition plans.
  • Task 5 – Review of Guidance – The draft guidance will be distributed to the TAC and several other identified potential users for review and comment.
  • Task 6 – Revision of Guidance – Once comments are received from Task 5, the guidance document will be modified to its final form.
  • Task 7 – Final Research Report – A research report will be developed detailing the research process, including information regarding the literature review, survey respondents, survey data, and guidance development.

Research Team:
Principal Investigators: Dr. Jennifer S. Shane and Dr. An Chen
Research Assistant: