Published in Structural Engineering International, Volume 9, Issue 3, August 1, 1999, pages 219-223.
NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Allen C. Estes was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly.
This study proposes a general methodology for determining the optimal lifetime planning of bridge inspection and repair programs based on minimizing the expected cost while maintaining an acceptable level of reliability. For individual bridges, this methodology determines the optimum inspection technique. and the numbers and timing of inspections and repairs. The methodology is demonstrated initially on a simple structure. Then. the method is applied to the optimial planning of inspection and repair programs for an existing bridge. The proposed approach to the problem of lifetime bridge maintenance is shown to be a viable method for optimizing inspection and repair investments during the expected remaining life of existing bridges. The results have important implications in the development of future reliability-based maintenance guidelines and criteria for the inspection and repair of bridges.