About the research
The nation’s transportation system includes not only the extensive National Highway System but also the local highway systems that provide important links in the transportation network. Bridges are an essential component of these local systems. The primary focus of this synthesis is on local or off-system bridge design, construction, maintenance, financing, rehabilitation, and replacement. The definition of ?off-system? can vary from place to place. Off-system bridges in this report will refer to those bridges typically owned and maintained by local agencies (i.e., cities and counties) and by state agencies on rural and other low volume roads. Information was gathered from several sources, including a project survey, published literature, electronic media, personal contacts, and manufacturers of bridges or bridge-related products. Several current practice areas that need improvement (e.g., design standards, replacement strategies, and maintenance) were also identified.