Kentucky’s 14,000+ bridges are key nodes within the state’s surface transportation network. They facilitate the movement of freight, commercial vehicles, and personal vehicles alike. Historically, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) has prioritized bridge maintenance projects using sufficiency ratings. These ratings are based on three factors — structural adequacy and safety, design obsolescence, and an asset’s importance within the roadway network. Although useful, sufficiency ratings do not account for factors that should be considered during the prioritization process (e.g., condition factors, risk). To address the shortcomings associated with using sufficiency ratings, KYTC — with the assistance of the Kentucky Transportation Center — has developed and implemented a new Enhanced Bridge Prioritization Index. Sixteen factors distributed across three categories (Condition, Mobility, and Risk) are used to calculate index scores for each structure. Each factor is weighted in proportion to its contribution to the overall index. The Condition category makes up the largest part of the index, accounting for 68% of the overall score. Scores range between 0 and 1. A bridge that receives a score of 0 is the lowest priority, while a bridge that earns a score of 1 ranks as the highest priority. Following successful testing, over the next few budget cycles KYTC intends to use the Enhanced Bridge Prioritization Index. As part of this effort, the agency will evaluate the index’s performance and make revisions as needed.

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