Life-cycle Cost Analysis for AK Bridge Components

Abstract and project information last updated: 1 March 2011. Project updates are dated below.

A steel beam has four square blotches of yellow insulation parallel down its center with wires stuck in each blotch. A fifth wire extends from the bottom of the beam to the top, extending to the right.

Credit: J. Leroy Hulsey

Pictured is some yellow/gray insulation and wiring, known as thermistors, is used to measure the temperature of a beam of steel. The research is in response to a USDOT request that every state develop a long-range plan for bridge replacement.

J. Leroy Hulsey (UAF)

US Department of Transportation (RITA)

Permafrost Technology Foundation

1 May 2009
End Date
31 July 2011


Decaying infrastructure and limited renewal funds are moving our national transportation system toward crisis. Which bridges are past their service life? Which could function for another decade? What will it cost to replace each? The U.S. Department of Transportation has asked every state to develop a longrange plan (through 2030) for bridge replacement. To meet this goal, Alaska must create a priority list and a plan to replace its own aging infrastructure. The accepted design life for a bridge is 75 years, but this arbitrary number does not take into account new building techniques, seasonal stresses, or variations in frequency and size of vehicles supported, to say nothing of environmental stresses like scouring, ice damage, and earthquakes. Bridges deteriorate in different ways, at different rates. A more accurate way to determine an existing bridge’s service life is essential to the state’s plan. The research team is collecting data on environmental conditions, material aging processes, repair records, and current costs. Results are contributing to a process for conducting life-cycle cost analyses for highway bridges in Alaska. This project provides state planners and engineers with the tools to estimate an average cost per bridge, as well as the upper and lower bounds of maintenance and/or damage costs.

Final Report

Life Cycle Costs for Alaska Bridges
29 Jan 2015

Life Cycle Costs for Alaska Bridges
Leroy Hulsey, Billy Connor, Andrew Metzger and Donald J. Pitts

Related Project Activity

29 January 2015

Life Cycle Costs for Alaska Bridges

by billy.connor

Life Cycle Costs for Alaska Bridges