Public Works Engineering, through its Bridge and Hydraulic program, is responsible for monitoring the functional and structural integrity of all county bridges through regular inspection and reporting.
Within the road system of Whatcom County, there are 162 county-owned bridges. Federal law mandates that Whatcom County inspects each bridge at least every 2 years, and files a report with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), monitoring agency for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) federal bridge inspection compliance program.
Dictating Bridge Projects
The Bridge Program, through its regular structural inspection, dictates the implementation of regular and emergency maintenance of bridges, as well as the initiation of capital improvement projects involving bridge replacement or rehabilitation. In addition, the Bridge Program acts as the basis for information to support the safe transportation of overweight/overwidth motor freight and equipment.
Many bridges require special inspections involving the use of an under-bridge inspection vehicle, underwater divers inspecting piers for scour or washout of support material, and evaluation of critical pins and load-carrying members.
Ensuring Public Safety
In summary, the Bridge Program ensures safe public use of county bridge structures, and maintains a database of information used for repair, replacement, loading and analysis of the bridges.