Closure of Unsafe Structures
During inspection and material testing operations, should structural issues be discovered that could result in bridge or site safety issues, please reference the MDOT Authority for Bridge Closures policy memo. The logistics of closing bridges currently under construction is addressed in the MDOT Standard Specifications for Construction, section 103.02.D, which describes the Suspension of Work Ordered by the Engineer.
MDOT Standard Specifications for Construction, section 104.01 generally describes the Authority of the Engineer. More specifically, section 104.01.B describes the Authority of the Engineer to Suspend Work during construction.
Should issues arise during bridge construction activities, all personnel on site shall ensure safety and notify the Engineer, or the Contractor’s Safety Supervisor.
After initial assessment, closure actions may be initiated by:
- The Engineer/Construction Administrator
- The Design Engineer of Record (EOR)
- The Contractor’s Safety Supervisor, or Site Superintendent
- The Bridge Owner
During construction operations, should an unsafe structural condition to either the immediate work site and/or the traveling public develop, the personnel noted above must take immediate action to close, remove traffic, and make the site safe. These unsafe conditions may include, but are not limited to the following conditions related to construction loads, and/or other load effects on structural elements:
Upon notice of any single, or combination of elements that represent an unsafe condition, and after brief consultation with qualified personnel with structural expertise, or with the EOR if time allows, site personnel should immediately:
- i. Close the roadway, whether over or under structural elements in question, or adjacent to temporary earth retaining structures, or slopes in question. This can be achieved with vehicles, traffic control devices, and other methods for initial closure
- ii. Immediately evacuate the bridge construction operations area
- iii. Contact local law enforcement for assistance in setting up permanent closure and detour
- iv. Use appropriate traffic control devices to safely detour after immediate closure, and evacuation of construction operations area
- v. Restrict access to the structural elements in question
- vi. Immediately provide bracing or temporary shoring for elements noted to be unstable
More information, including the appropriate personnel to involve, decision making, and mitigation can be found in the MDOT Authority for Bridge Closures policy memo.