The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) has recently completed writing their Bridge Maintenance Manual (the Manual). The purpose of the Manual is to provide information regarding bridge maintenance practices and procedures in accordance with established MnDOT policies. This manual will help engineers and field crews repair the 20,000 bridges in the state with uniformity. MnDOT hired the Structural Group from WSB & Associates Inc. to assist in completing their Manual. WSB assisted in the organization, technical writing, and review of the manual.

Bridge maintenance takes a substantial part of the total governmental effort and dedicated funds, but can be instrumental in extending the service life and delaying the need for more costly rehabilitation efforts.  By performing identified maintenance in a timely manner, user costs and service interruptions can be minimized.  Bridge maintenance requires special skills in welding, carpentry, and in the use of concrete, epoxies, timber, steel, and many other materials.

The Manual is divided into four sections: Policies and Procedures, Bridge Asset Management a Field Guide, and the Bridge Maintenance Painting Manual.  The Policies and Procedures Section of the Manual is intended to provide detailed guidance on the purpose, requirements, and procedures of the MnDOT bridge maintenance program.  The second section discusses the three components of bridge asset management (Assessment, Preservation, and Improvement) with an emphasis on increasing public safety and minimizing life cycle costs.

The Field Guide is further divided into four chapters: Introduction, Deck, Joints, Superstructure, and Substructure and Painting and is intended to provide detailed instructions for key bridge maintenance activities.  Field notes and user notes are utilized throughout the manual to highlight tips and methods that are important for that specific task or to point the user to a location where additional information may be found.  

Information presented in the Field Guide is intended to assist bridge maintenance personnel with performing routine bridge maintenance activities.  However, certain bridge maintenance activities may require consultation with the Bridge Engineer or Regional Bridge Construction Engineer prior to performing the work.  

Currently the manual is for internal MnDOT use but will eventually be made public so other bridge owners such as counties and cities can reference it.