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Protection Engineering Consultants (PEC) is pleased to announce the publication of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Bridge Security Design Manual (FHWA-HIF-17-032), which was co-authored by PEC (Eric Sammarco) in collaboration with The University of Texas at Austin (Eric Williamson) under the direction of HDR and FHWA.  This manual is the culmination of years of work by the authors, FHWA and many US researchers who have made significant contributions to the fields of infrastructure and bridge security.

Worldwide statistics show increasing attacks against public transportation, with highway infrastructure being among the most frequently targeted.  Numerous threats against highway bridges have been identified by U.S. authorities since the September 11, 2001 attacks.  Public bridges are highly accessible, and, unlike buildings, often lack the level of structural redundancy and exterior envelope protection needed to adequately withstand deliberate attacks by explosives and other destructive tools.  The sudden failure of a highway bridge located on a major transportation corridor will cause significant economic loss, casualties, and societal distress.

Due to the limited and fragmented nature of bridge-specific protective design guidance, FHWA undertook the development of the Bridge Security Design Manual to organize, consolidate and promulgate the current state-of-the art in bridge security engineering. The primary objective is to present state-of-the-art guidance on:

  • security planning
  • credible threats
  • extreme loading phenomenology and characterization
  • protective design strategies

This manual will be used by the bridge community for vulnerability assessments of existing bridges, resilient design of new bridges, and emergency planning efforts. A companion software program called Anti-Terrorist Planner for Bridges (ATP-Bridge) accompanies this bridge security design manual.

The state of practice for bridge security is much less mature than for buildings and bridge security will continue to be an active area of research and development for years to come.  This manual identifies areas requiring additional research and design guidance development.  As more knowledge is developed, this manual will be updated, to remain a state-of-the-art reference for the highway bridge community.

The FHWA Bridge Security Design Manual is now available for download from the Federal Highway Administration. For more information on the FHWA Bridge Security Design Manual or PEC’s bridge security capabilities, please contact Eric Sammarco PhD, PE.

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