The National Park Service (NPS) manages a complex system of bridges. For our management purposes, we include tunnels in this category of infrastructure as well. These bridges are the lifeline connecting parks and communities across the nation. NPS professionals from the Federal Lands Transportation Program, the Denver Service Center, parks, and regions around the country work together to maintatin this critical infrastructure. From conducting condition assessments, to planning to rehabilitation/repair and replacement, learn more below about how the NPS uses asset management practices to care for bridges and tunnels.
Current Condition of NPS BridgesIn FY21, the NPS improved the conditions of 84 bridges at a cost of $113 million dollars (44 utilized preventive maintenance, 27 rehabilitated, and 13 replaced/new). The current Servicewide Bridge Health Index (BHI) for public motor vehicle structures, to include tunnels, is 93.2. Only 1.9% of the inventory are considered poor condition structures. The condition rating metric evaluates four bridge components on a 9-point scale. The lowest component rating for any of the poor structures is 4 on a 9-point scale. Bridges are inspected on a two-year cycle, and data is constantly evolving; however, the NPS values for these two metrics are incredibly good!
Bridge Management System
The bridge management system is intended to improve decision making about the type and priority of bridge investments, based on inspection data now collected as part of the Bridge Inspection Program (BIP). For more than 20 years, NPS staff have collected condition data on all bridge structures greater than 20 feet in length.
Under this inspection program, the following occurs:
Safety inspections are performed on public bridges and tunnels (vehicular) and nonpublic bridges (vehicular and trail), to ensure public safety.
Inspection reports are produced for each structure to summarize condition and corrective action needed.
In-depth field testing is performed as indicated by initial analysis to determine the bridge needs.
A bridge management system provides a basis for recommendations to optimize expenditures of funds and identifies critical needs for the network of structures. The information collected also provides input for the preparation of rehabilitation plans and specifications as well as construction support.
Last updated: February 13, 2023