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Development of Best Practices Guide on Security of Historic Bridges

Project Information

Project ID: 
Project Status: 
Start Date: 
Monday, September 1, 2008
End Date: 
Monday, September 30, 2013
FHWA Program: 
FHWA Subprogram: 
FHWA Topics: 
Research/Technologies--Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC)
TRT Terms: 
Covered Bridges; Vandalism; Fires; Security; Historic Preservation; Research; Infrastructure; Bridges
FHWA Discipline: 
Structures, Safety
TRB Subject Area: 
Bridges and other structures, Security and Emergencies

Contact Information

First Name: 
Last Name: 
(202) 493-3106
Email Address: 
Infrastructure Analysis and Construction Team
Office of Infrastructure Research and Development
Office Code: 

Project Details

Project Description: 

Historic sites of all types are frequently the targets of vandalism, arson, and other malicious acts. With many historic or nationally significant landmarks, protection can be achieved by displaying an authority presence. Historic covered bridges represent a unique challenge because they are quite numerous and commonly located in remote locations. The difficulty associated with managing these structures has been clearly shown with recent arson events that have resulted in the destruction and permanent damage of these bridges. Any available guidelines for securing bridges and other transportation structures focus on bridges that are either signature structures or are considered critical lifelines. Although providing some useful information, these guidelines do not sufficiently address the unique needs of historic covered bridge owners. This study will develop a best practices guide specifically for historic covered bridges. The developed guide will provide bridge owners with the tools to design and implement a cost-effective security system that is somewhat site dependent. Specific items that will be addressed include the use of signage, lighting, fire suppressant systems, and automated technologies, including intrusion detection systems. In addition, it is envisioned that gaps in available methods and research needs will be identified.


The objective is to develop a best practices guide for arson prevention especially suited for historic covered bridges.


Deliverable Name: 
Guidelines for Security of Historic Covered Bridges (9/2013)
Deliverable Type: 
Research report or guidelines
Deliverable Description: 
The report will contain guidance on measures to secure historic bridges against arson, vandalism, etc.