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Bridge Inspection

Bridge Inspection: Ensuring Safe Operation

Emily Busch

July 26, 2021

Bridge inspectors are engineers who assess the structural condition and collect needed data of bridges. Using tools and equipment, they evaluate the condition, damages and recommend solutions for each bridge to ensure it is safe for operation.


All bridge inspectors must be certified. To earn their certification, they must enroll in training and certification programs. These programs are extensive and give candidates work experience and exam-based job tasks.


Our bridge engineering and design team offers a variety of services, including bridge inspection and rehabilitation, underwater inspection, and construction services. They are highly skilled inspectors, working on multiple bridge types, including cable-stayed, arch, suspension, railroad bridges, and more.


Our bridge projects have been recognized by the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), the American Society of Highway Engineers (ASHE), and the Association for Bridge Construction and Design (ABCD)

Types of Bridge Inspections

There are five basic types of bridge inspections:

  • Initial– The initial inspection is the first inspection completed on the bridge to establish a baseline condition of the structure and collect any needed data.
  • Routine The most commonly performed are routine inspections which determine the physical and functional condition of the bridge on a regular basis.
  • In-depth– An in-depth inspection is a hands-on inspection above or below water level to identify potential problems not easily detectible during routine inspections.
  • Damage Damage inspections occur in response to emergencies to evaluate structural damage following an accident or natural disaster.
  • Special Special is used to monitor known or suspected issues on a regular basis.

What Are Bridge Inspectors Looking For?

Across the nation roadways and bridges are vital for travel and to support the economic needs of all Americans. But, in the 2021 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure the United States scored a C-.


Reliable funding is a challenge that limits the repairs and expansion of the nation’s bridges. However, bridges are routinely load rated and inspected for resilience. Resilience is dependent on weather conditions of an area and traffic volume.


Bridges are inspected routinely, every two years, by trained inspectors. These inspectors are searching for evidence of damage, deterioration, or defects in the bridges. This helps prevent major tragedies or performance issues. If a bridge is ever deemed unsafe, workers take action immediately to close and repair the bridge so it can resume operations as quickly as possible. These regular inspections ensure bridges remain safe for traffic nationwide.


For an annual routine bridge inspection project, our team inspected 29 bridges. From those inspections, the team concluded 25 bridges required general maintenance. The routine maintenance included:

  • Sealing roadway surfaces
  • Grouting drainpipes
  • Repairing concrete walls
  • Removing trees
  • Repairing eroded portions of the walls
  • Monitoring cracking and leakage, debris build-up, tree, and root growth
  • Erosion issues
  • Flood conditions

Bridge Inspection Using Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), also known as drones, assist our team and allows them to obtain better views of projects sites. It also allows our team to practice extra precaution while inspecting hard-to-reach sites, angles, and corners of bridges.


Our team has multiple FAA-licensed remote pilots on-staff that are trained in the regulations, restrictions, and procedures necessary for safe and legal UAS practices.


Our award-winning bridge engineering, design, and inspection team is prepared to keep our nation’s highways and roadways safe. With years of experience and training in bridge inspection, our team can assist with any service need.


Interested in learning more about our bridge design and inspection services? Contact us today to learn more.