MU Professor Appears in Federal Code

December 06, 2019

Portrait: Glenn Washer

Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Glenn Washer

Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Glenn Washer has earned a unique distinction: appearing by name in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations. As required by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act signed by President Obama in 2012, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) was tasked with updating the National Bridge Inspection Standards (NBIS) to incorporate technological advancements and consider a risk-based approach to determining bridge inspection frequency. Prof. Washer has completed multiple studies under the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine related to bridge inspection technologies that have played a key role in advancing the field. This has included the development of methodologies for analyzing bridges to determine risk-based inspection (RBI) frequencies, which now have been adopted as part of the new proposed National Bridge Inspection Standards that govern the safety inspections of the more than 600,000 bridges in the U.S.

Page 61,501 of 23 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 650 states, “In the development of § 650.311(a)(2), a SME (Subject Matter Expert), Dr. Glenn Washer, was contracted to review this one section and present comments to FHWA.”

Civil and Environmental Engineering Interim Chair Praveen Edara notes that “It is rare for individuals to be mentioned in the US Code of Federal Regulations, and it speaks volumes about Dr. Washer’s expertise and stature in the field of bridge inspection.”

Before joining Mizzou Engineering in 2004, Prof. Washer was with the FHWA at the Turner Fairbank Research Center, where he served as the director of the FHWA Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) program. Washer has expertise in a wide variety of NDE technologies for the condition assessment of highway bridges, including ultrasonics, thermography, ground penetrating radar, radiography and the visual inspection of bridges. He has published more than 100 conference and journal papers on the development of NDE technologies. Following the tragic collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis in 2007, Dr. Washer testified in Congress regarding the role of NDE technologies in the safety inspection of bridges. His current research includes the development of thermal imaging technologies, ultrasonic stress measurement, implementation of RBI and the reliability of NDE technologies.

The new NBIS standards can be found here.