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UK Bridges Board Business Plan introduction

Strategic Objectives
 

The UK Bridges Board brings together national and local government and other owners of highway structures from across the UK to consider matters related to highway bridges, tunnels, geotechnical structures and other infrastructure engineering and operations.

 

The plan is monitored here.
 

The Board will:

  • facilitate and assist the development and promulgation of best practice on technical, financial, administrative and operational matters relating to the sustainable construction, maintenance, availability, safety and use of highway bridges, tunnels and geotechnical structures, taking into account the different circumstances that may arise in urban and rural areas in the four UK countries and in different transport systems.
  • provide a source of advice to UKRLG, government departments, local authority associations and professional bodies across the UK on best practice and priorities for research, within the context of the wider transport picture.

The full terms of reference for the UK Bridges Board and membership are here.


Strategic Priorities
 

Theme 1 Safety
 

1.1    Inspection & Assessment
  • the Board will encourage the use of robust regimes of inspection and assessment of highway structures
  • the Board will encourage the development of improved methods of bridge assessment – work is currently underway on improved assessment methods of masonry arch bridges
  • the Board will encourage and support the development and implementation of improved training and qualifications for bridge inspectors
  • the Board will encourage the development of guidance in the identification, inspection and maintenance of concealed bridge components
  • the Board will encourage the development of risk based inspection regimes.
1.2    Monitoring & Strengthening
  • the Board will encourage the use of a comprehensive monitoring regime of structures that await strengthening
  • the board will encourage the development of guidance on strengthening techniques
  • the Board will endeavour to establish an annual national survey of bridge condition that can be reported on in a similar format to, and at the same time as, the national survey of road condition (see also 5.3).
1.3    Standing Committee on Structural Safety
  • the Board will maintain links with the Standing Committee on Structural Safety (SCOSS) and continue to invite them to make presentations of their biennial reports.
1.4    Eurocodes
  • the Board will monitor the use of Eurocodes and provide feedback as necessary.  It will also disseminate good practice in their use.
1.5    Security
  • the Board will maintain links with DfT Transport Security Section on issues relating to the security of highway structures and promulgate advice to bridge owners, as appropriate.
1.6    Response to Emergencies
  • the Board will use its network of members to distribute information to UK highway bridge owners in the event of a serious incident  - eg the bridge collapse at Minneapolis, USA; the bridge collapse at Montreal, Canada, Cumbria 2009 flooding impacts; M1 Fire impacts 2011.
1.7    Bridge Strikes
  • the Board will highlight the importance of adequate traffic direction and warning signs in minimising the risk of bridge strikes.  In doing so it will work with the Bridge Strike Prevention Group
  • The board will encourage the development of guidance in assessing the risk of parapet strikes and potential mitigation measures as well as the strengthening of masonry parapets.

Theme 2 Accessibility
 

2.1    Transport Asset Management Plans
 

Asset management principles and practices are currently being introduced and applied by highway authorities.
•    the Board will encourage the adoption of an “asset management” approach for structures on UK highways, in particular by promoting the use of the Code of Practice for the “Management of Highway Structures”
•    The Board will promote the use of the “Structures Asset Management Planning Toolkit” and oversee the development and publication of any related guidance (see also 5.1).
 

2.2    Capacity and Functionality
 

Owners may wish to undertake works to improve the capacity and functionality of their structures to improve accessibility to businesses and services.  This should result in a reduction of network restrictions [width, height or weight] at highway bridges.
•    the Board will seek to determine the extent of network restrictions and encourage wider use of the ESDAL system

•    the Board will work with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Environment Agency (EA) on the highway structure implications of implementing the Flood Risk Regulations 2009 and the Flood and Water Management Act 2010.
 

2.3    Network Resilience
 

The resilience of bridges should be risk assessed
•    the Board will encourage the development of guidance for the risk assessment of the vulnerability of bridges to flood damage caused by scour and debris impact

•    the Board will encourage the development of guidance for the assessment and minimisation of risk arising from the function and use of land adjacent to and below bridges.

•    The Board will encourage the development of guidance for contingency planning in the event of a bridge failure or collapse.

 

Theme 3 – Congestion
 

3.1    Programming of Works
 

The Board will promote and encourage efficient and effective management of highway structures – vital elements of the nation’s highways networks – in order to minimise delays to customers. The programming of bridge works will be of particular interest, including:
•    minimising the amount of “strengthening” works undertaken by encouraging the development of more effective assessment techniques

•    promoting technology that will enable work to be done quicker

•    work content – doing as much as possible in one visit

•    programming works to suit local factors [events, etc]

•    programming schemes to fit with other works in the highway

•    planning wider transport mitigation measures to alleviate disruption

•    seeking adequate and consistent bridge funding to ensure that preventative maintenance can be carried out, thereby avoiding the unplanned reactive and emergency works that tends to cause the greatest disruption to traffic on the highway network.
Careful programming will also benefit the strategic themes of “Economy” and “Efficiency”.
 


Theme 4 - Environment
 

4.1    Sustainability
 

A sustainable approach to structures management is needed so that services might be delivered in the most environmentally sensitive way:
•    the Board will consider the use of sustainable and environmentally-efficient materials and methods of working

•    the Board will encourage the calculation of the amount of carbon that will be generated by proposed bridgeworks and its minimisation through the design of appropriate solutions.
 

4.2    Climate Change
 

Highway structures must be designed and maintained with due regard to the future impacts of climate change:
•    the Board will consider whether any design and maintenance standards should be revised to mitigate the impacts of climate change

•    in particular, the Board will work with the Environment Agency on adaptation strategies for dealing with the impacts of flooding.
 



Theme 5 – Economy
 

5.1    Asset Value
 

Owners wish to keep their structures stock in good order to maintain its high asset value.
•    the Board will promote the use of the “Structures Asset Management Planning Toolkit” and oversee the development and publication of any related guidance.
 

5.2    Asset Management Regimes
 

It is probable that bridge owners will need to commit further resources to develop and implement asset management regimes for their highway structures in order to comply with “Whole of Government Accounting” requirements.  This may include inventory data collection, implementing bridge management systems, asset valuation and structures asset management plans
•    the Board will assist in the production of updated “Transport Asset Management Guidance”
•    the Board will encourage the sharing of best practice on the efficient implementation of asset management planning and consider how resourcing limitations might best be addressed
 

5.3    Funding Requirements
 

In order to advise government on appropriate levels of funding for the nation’s highway structures, there is a need to determine the “overall” national situation
•    the Board will endeavour to establish an annual national survey of bridge condition that can be reported on in a similar format to, and at the same time as, the national survey of road condition
•    the Board will endeavour to determine the structures maintenance “backlog”
•    the Board will consider the need for a national bridge database.
•    the Board will monitor levels of funding made available against those recognised as being necessary to prevent deterioration of bridge stock condition. 
 

5.4    Value for Money
 

Owners of highway structures wish to manage their inventory in a cost-effective manner.
•    the Board will encourage the adoption of a highways asset management approach for structures on UK highways
•    the Board will lead the development of best practice through the production and publication of codes of practice, other guidance, standards and specifications
•    the Board will produce advice on bridge management performance indicators.

 

5.5    Performance Management
 

Owners will work and report to their own performance management regimes.
•    the Board will review the use of performance indicators by its member organisations and consider their suitability for monitoring the management of highway structures
•    propose and recommend the use of revised indicators if necessary

 

Theme 6 - Efficiency
 

 

6.1    Asset Management
 

The Board will support and encourage the development and implementation of asset management regimes, including:
•    inventory data collection
•    bridge management systems
•    prioritisation tools
•    asset valuation and
•    structures asset management plans.
 

6.2    Whole Life Regimes
 

The Board supports the development and application of “whole life” management, maintenance and replacement regimes
•    the Board will review whole life management guidance (eg UKRLG Guidance and the Structures Asset Management Planning Toolkit) and encourage the production of any further guidance considered necessary to support good asset management of highway structures.
 

6.3    Developing Best Practice
 

In September 2005 the Bridges Board produced the Code of Practice “Management of Highway Structures”. The Board has also recently produced guidance on Older Metal Bridges and is developing standards of training and competence for bridge inspectors.
•    the Board will lead the development of best practice through the production and publication of codes of practice, other guidance, standards and specifications
•    the Board will continue to support and liaise with the Bridge Owners Forum.
•    the Board will participate in industry debate at conferences and seminars, support learned journals, etc. to keep practitioners apprised of the work it is undertaking.
 

6.4    Sharing Best Practice
 

There can be staff resourcing difficulties associated with the implementation of new initiatives while continuously aiming for further “efficiency” savings.  In order to maximise efficiency throughout the highways sector, there is an ever-growing need to support each other by sharing best practice.  The Board will encourage owners to “share the load” by engaging with and participating in existing networks, such as those in place through ADEPT.
•    the Board will support initiatives to assist local authority bridge owners lagging behind on implementation of the Code of Practice for Highway Structures as established by the 2011 implementation survey.
 

6.5    Research and Development
 

The Board will continue to promote research and development projects relevant to the sound asset management of highway structures.
•    the Board will review its governance and communication links with the Bridge Owners Forum to ensure that the needs of both groups and the wider bridge community are being met
•    the Board will work with the Bridge Owners Forum to identify and prioritise research and development needs and monitor international research
•    the Board will maintain a register of research and development needs and submit proposals to deliver them to the UK Roads Liaison Group as appropriate
•    the Board will assist with management of the approved research and development programme
•    the Board will assist with dissemination of the outcomes of research projects.
 

6.6    International Liaison
 

The Board will develop a strategy to share information, research programmes and best practice for highway structures with organisations in other countries.
 

6.7    Communications
 

The Board will develop a suite of media fact sheets on bridge related issues which are likely to be of interest following high profile incidents eg bridge collapse, road over rail incursion.