The limitations of the standard two-year interval for the visual inspection of bridges required by the U.S. National Bridge Inspection Standards have been well documented, and alternative approaches to bridge inspection planning have been presented in recent literature. This paper explores a different strategy for determining the interval between inspections and the type of inspection technique to use for bridges. The foundational premise of the proposed approach is that bridge inspections are conducted to increase knowledge about the bridge’s current condition, and therefore, are only required when uncertainty about the knowledge of the bridge condition is too high. An example case of a reinforced concrete bridge deck was used to demonstrate how this approach would work. The method utilized deterioration models for predicting corrosion and crack initiation time, considering the uncertainty in the models’ parameters. Bridge inspections were used to update the current condition information and model parameters through Bayesian updating. As this paper presents a new idea for inspection planning, not all of the data or models necessary to fully develop and validate the approach currently exist. Nonetheless, the method was applied to a simulated example which demonstrates how the timing and means of bridge inspection can be tailored to provide the required data about individual bridges needed for effective bridge management decision making.
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