Various throughout Los Angeles County

City or County Responsible for Project: 

Los Angeles County Department of Public Works

Award Category: 

Narrative Description Of Your Entry: 

Within the State of California there are approximately 25,000 bridges listed on the National Bridge Inventory (NBI). Roughly 30% of those bridges are classified as either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Similarly, in Los Angeles County, approximately 30% of the more than 1,400 locally-owned NBI bridges share the same designations and more than half have exceeded their theoretical 50-year design life. With an aging bridge infrastructure in need of various levels of repairs, rehabilitation, or replacement, it has become vital for local agencies to take a proactive approach to overall management of their bridge inventories by addressing the needs of bridges that are still in good condition rather than solely applying a “worst-first” approach. To help preserve and maximize the useful life of locally-owned NBI bridges within Los Angeles County, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works (Public Works) has taken the lead to initiate and secure federal funding to implement a Countywide Bridge Preventive Maintenance Program (BPMP). As an agent for the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), Public Works performs bridge inspection functions for over 1,100 locally-owned NBI bridges in 70 cities and the unincorporated communities of Los Angeles County. In a collaborative effort, Public Works is partnering with the Cities to secure available federal funding and implement preventive maintenance on more than 400 of those bridges. Preventive maintenance treatments include replacing deteriorated expansion joint seals, sealing concrete bridge decks to reduce the amount of water infiltrating the bridge, applying protective deck overlays, and minor repairs and other measures to slow the rate of deterioration of bridge elements. The BPMP aims to maintain the existing inventory of bridges in a structurally safe and serviceable condition by correcting minor structural defects and deficiencies early in a bridge’s life, rather than waiting until a bridge develops major problems that require more costly rehabilitation, reconstruction, or replacement. When properly applied, preventive maintenance is a sustainable practice that offers a cost-effective way of extending the service life of bridges and makes efficient use of limited funding. Plans, specifications, and NEPA environmental studies are currently being prepared for 258 bridges in 34 cities, which include sealing over 2 million square feet of bridge deck, replacing 32,000 linear feet of joint seals, and patching 10,000 square feet of spalled concrete. Although the BPMP currently includes about 400 bridges, the program can be expanded to incorporate other locally-owned NBI bridges as eligible preventive maintenance work is identified through Public Work’s biennial inspections. To help minimize program soft costs, multiple bridges have been bundled into contracts based on proximity and scope of work. The Bridge Preventive Maintenance Program will improve the overall quality of the local street and roadway network within Los Angeles County by extending the service life of multiple bridges in a cost-effective manner. The BPMP preserves and protects the public’s investment in local infrastructure and implements sustainable practices that have a positive impact on the environment by delaying the need for more substantial bridge replacement projects that have a greater environmental footprint. Prior to the establishment of the BPMP, each agency was responsible to maintain their local bridges in a safe and serviceable condition at their own cost. Through the BPMP, Public Works has secured federal funding on behalf of the Cities to finance 88.5 percent of eligible work. The BPMP is a unique example of collaborative efforts between multiple agencies to implement preventive maintenance work and provides a model for other Counties to take a lead role in preserving the local bridge network.

Submitted by: 

David S. Chan


Senior Civil Engineer


Los Angeles County Department of Public Works