InTrans / Aug 14, 2018

Wood In Transportation Program – An Overview

Research and demonstration bridge projects to further develop wood for transportation structures increased substantially in the United States in 1988 under a legislative action by the U.S. Congress known as the Timber Bridge Initiative. This program, renamed the Wood in Transportation Program, continues today and is administered by the Forest Service. FHWA became involved in timber bridge research in 1990. The FHWA program increased substantially under the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA). From 1992 to 1997, ISTEA authorized significant funding for timber bridge research, technology transfer, and demonstration bridges. The current transportation authorization, the Transportation Equity Act for the 2lst century, does not contain a program for timber bridges similar to that of ISTEA; however, there are provisions under the fiscal year 1999 Transportation Appropriations Bill for advancing engineered wood and composites technology through research and demonstration projects to further develop the use of wood for transportation structures. As a result of these combined efforts, a large number of research projects have been initiated, and a number of demonstration bridges have been built under both programs. An overview of the research and the demonstration timber bridge programs is provided here.