Austroads, the peak organisation of Australasian road transport and traffic agencies, has published asset management guidance specific for road bridges. The guideline promotes an engineering approach (engineering principles, knowledge, experience and modelling tools) as being the only robust method for understanding the current and future, condition and needs of a bridge network.
Australia and New Zealand road managers maintain around 70,000 bridges on public road networks.
Austroads Transport Infrastructure Program Manager, Ross Guppy, said while there are many asset management documents, they are often generic and are not easily applied to specific assets.
“The Austroads guidelines build on foundational documents, such as ISO 550000 and the International Infrastructure Management Manual, to ensure the specific characteristics and unique needs of bridges are considered over their lifecycle,” Ross detailed.
Key road bridge characteristics are: their structural capacity to carry heavy loads; the consequences of structural failure; the engineering complexity of structural performance of a wide range of structural types, materials, condition, design loads and actual applied loads; and the high capital value of the asset.
“Expert structural engineering skills and experience are required to maximise heavy vehicle access, and to generally manage and operate bridges safely and efficiently,” Ross said.
“The guideline defines best practice asset management for bridges, providing a transparent link between investment and outcomes. It defines a specific and detailed asset management framework for bridges underpinned by risk management protocols in keeping with ISO 31000.”
Guidance is provided on formal justification of customer levels of service from bridges, optimum maintenance and renewals interventions at the bridge level and at network level, and identifying, evaluating and reporting on bridge risk.
The guideline also promotes the concept of formally measuring asset management performance to differentiate success from failure; demonstrate results that illustrate accountability to customers and stakeholders; and identify gaps or needs that can justify funding.
The Engineering Guideline to Bridge Asset Management guideline can be downloaded for free here.