Bridge Inspections: Safety, Compliance and Techniques


Routine bridge inspections are an essential part of infrastructure management for our clients, ranging from small municipalities to large counties.

Routine bridge inspections are an essential part of infrastructure management for our clients, ranging from small municipalities to large counties.

Typically, publicly-owned vehicular bridges over twenty feet must be inspected biennially and the information documented with the Federal Highway Administration to remain in compliance with the National Bridge Inspection Standards (NBIS). The primary purpose of NBIS is to locate and evaluate bridge deficiencies to ensure public safety while traveling them.

While not required by NBIS, thorough inspections of privately-owned structures and pedestrian bridges can provide owners crucial information related to their condition and safety.

Bridge Evaluation Services and Alternative Access Techniques

Origin Design routinely performs in-service bridge evaluation services, including in-depth, fracture critical, and underwater bridge inspections; load rating analyses for vehicles; maintenance and rehabilitation recommendations; and advising bridge owners on steps necessary to maintain current structures and plan for future bridges.

Origin Design performs bridge inspections utilizing a combination of both traditional and rope access techniques on various structure types.

Incorporating rope access techniques allows for the thorough inspection of structures without the use of expensive and invasive traditional access equipment, including barges, lifts, scaffolding, or snooper vehicles. This reduces both inspection costs and traffic impacts or lane closures. In addition, critical areas of pedestrian and vehicular bridges can be closely examined without removing deck or rail member, which is traditionally required when performing in-depth inspections.

There have been many instances where rope access has been beneficial to use, not only due to cost, but due to bridge location. Often times, bridges have limited access which makes traditional inspection methods difficult or off limits. An example is a pedestrian bridge located on a hiking trail. In this case, and many others, rope access can provide efficient and timely inspection when access is limited.

Origin Design has successfully worked with many local public agencies to deliver comprehensive bridge inspection information and maintenance recommendations to effectively manage their bridge assets with both traditional and non-traditional techniques.


Do you need help managing your bridge inspection program?


Nate Miller, PE serves as Origin Design's lead climber and primary bridge inspector. He is a Certified Bridge Inspection Team Leader and Program Manager in Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin, and is trained in the inspection of fracture-critical bridge components and non-destructive testing procedures. He regularly provides guidance to bridge owners regarding scheduling routine maintenance and designing repairs/replacement structures.

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Congratulations to Eric Helminiak & Cody Austin on graduating from the Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce Leadership Dubuque Program! We're lucky to have you two as leaders at #origindesign!

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#workingontomorrow We're excited to be partnering with the City of Dyersville and Tschiggfrie Excavating to bring a paved segment of the Heritage Trail to Dyersville, Iowa. The 10’ wide trail was placed earlier this week with a GPS controlled paver that made quick work of the job.

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We had a great time hosting a tour of our downtown office space for Dubuque Main Street Architecture Days! Our space is rich with history and we love getting to share it with the community! Thanks to everyone who joined us on the tour & thank you to Dubuque Main Street for inviting us to be a part of this week!

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Last Friday, a group of our #employeeowners participated in Dubuque Days of Caring by cleaning up the Downtown Districts! Great job to the 1000+ volunteers who participated throughout the area!

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We love STEMFest!! The Dubuque Area Family STEM Festival is such a great opportunity for our staff to connect with the younger generation & get them interested in all things STEM! Thanks Clarke University for hosting this awesome event!

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Congratulations to all of our #employeeowners on their success this past year & a special shoutout to our #employeeowners on their recent promotions! We're lucky to have you on our #origincrew!

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#workingontomorrow We're excited to be partnering with the City of Dyersville to expand utilities out to the Field of Dreams site! Bryson Winksy recently showed us around this new pumping station in Dyersville, Iowa, which will pump running water out to the site!

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Nolan Peterson recently joined Origin Design as a Technical Specialist on our Field Services Team! Welcome to the #origincrew, Nolan!

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Join us in congratulating Amanda Kennedy on 15 years at Origin Design. We are so grateful to have Amanda as a leader on our #origincrew! Congrats, Amanda! Here's to another 15 years!

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We're excited & honored to have been among the 13 companies named Best Places to Work in Dubuque 2023. A special thank you to our #employeeowners for making Origin Design the company that it is! Congratulations to all the other companies on this honor!

Thank you to the Telegraph Herald and the Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce for hosting this event!

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Hey Pioneers! Stop by the Summer Job Fair today from 10 AM to 2 PM to chat with Troy Wright & Macy Mislivecek about job opportunities at Origin Design! We hope to see you there!

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#workingontomorrow Check out this downtown transformation of Twin Steeples Landing in Dyersville, IA, located along the Maquoketa River.

The project included a mixed-use condominium building, Textile Brewery and ADA compliant walkways that connect the buildings, riverfront and streets. 

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