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Update on Historic Bridges. MaryAnn Naber Federal Highway Administration June 17, 2008. FHWA Projects. Highway Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation Program.

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update on historic bridges

Update on Historic Bridges

MaryAnn Naber

Federal Highway Administration

June 17, 2008

highway bridge replacement and rehabilitation program
Highway Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation Program

23 U.S.C. Section 144 - Congress finds and declares that it is in the vital interest of the United States that a highway bridge program be carried out to enable States to improve the condition of their highway bridges over waterways … through replacement and rehabilitation of bridges that the States and the Secretary determine are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete and through systematic preventive maintenance of bridges.

highway bridge replacement and rehabilitation program1
Highway Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation Program

144 (d) Participation

  • (1) Bridge replacement and rehabilitation
    • (A) replacing the bridge with a comparable facility; or
    • (B) rehabilitating the bridge
  • Based on structurally deficient and functionally obsolete highway bridges
    • SR < 50 for replacement
    • SR <80 for rehabilitation
  • Bridges to be rehabbed must have potential for an extended service life
highway bridge replacement and rehabilitation program2
Highway Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation Program

144 (d) Participation

  • (2) Types of Assistance
    • (A) Painting
    • (B) Seismic retrofit *
    • (C) Systematic preventive maintenance *
    • (D) Installation of scour countermeasures *
    • (E) Application of environmentally acceptable, minimally corrosive anti-icing and de-icing compositions

* Does not have to be eligible for replacement or rehab

historic bridge program
Historic Bridge Program
  • 23 U.S.C. 144 (o)
    • (1) Coordination - encourages the inventory, retention, rehabilitation, adaptive reuse, and future study of historic bridges
    • (2) Inventory
    • (5) Historic bridge defined - any bridge that is listed on, or eligible for listing on, the National Register of Historic Places.
historic bridge program1
Historic Bridge Program
  • (3) Eligibility - Reasonable costs associated with actions to preserve or reduce the impact of a project on the historic integrity of historic bridges shall be eligible as reimbursable project costs under this title if the load capacity and safety features of the bridge are adequate to serve the intended use for the life of the bridge
  • Except for a bridge which is no longer used for motorized vehicular traffic, the costs eligible as reimbursable project costs pursuant to this subsection shall not exceed the estimated cost of demolition of such bridge.
historic bridge program2
Historic Bridge Program
  • 144 (o) (4) Preservation – A State proposing to demolish a historic bridge for a replacement project shall first make the bridge available for donation to a State, locality, or responsible private entity who agrees to:
    • (A) maintain the bridge and its historic significance; and
    • (B) assume all future legal and financial responsibility.
historic bridge program3
Historic Bridge Program

144 (o) (4) Preservation, continued

  • Costs to preserve the historic bridge shall be eligible as reimbursable project costs under this chapter up to an amount not to exceed the cost of demolition.
  • Any bridge preserved pursuant to this paragraph shall thereafter not be eligible for any other funds authorized pursuant to this title (Title 23)
section 4 f
Section 4(f)

23 U.S.C. 138 and 49 U.S.C. 303

  • The Secretary of Transportation may approve a project that uses a Section 4(f) resource only if:
    • There is no prudent and feasible alternative to such use, and
    • The project includes all possible planning to minimize harm to the resource; OR
    • The use is determined to be de minimis
  • A proposed action will use a historic bridge when the action will impair the integrity of the bridge either by rehabilitation or demolition
programmatic 4 f evaluation
Programmatic 4(f) Evaluation
  • 1983 Programmatic Evaluation may be applied when none of the following are prudent and feasible:
    • 1. Do nothing
    • 2. Build replacement on new location without affecting historic integrity of a historic bridge
    • 3. Rehab historic bridge without affecting its historic integrity
  • The Bridge is not a National Historic Landmark, AND
  • Agreement has been reached under Section 106
tools to preserve historic bridges
Tools to preserve historic bridges
  • Maintenance
  • Rehabilitation
  • Adoption
  • Relocation
  • Management plans
  • Programmatic


  • Standard treatments
  • Historic Bridge Alliance
if it s in a coffee table book don t even think about replacing it frank nelson odot
“If it’s in a coffee table book, don’t even think about replacing it!” -- Frank Nelson, ODOT
for more information
For more information:


  • FHWA Environmental Website
  • FHWA Historic Preservation Website


  • AASHTO Center for Environmental Excellence
  • Historic Bridge Alliance


  • National Historic Preservation Act
  • 36 CFR Part 800 – Section 106 regs