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Frequently Asked Questions

Before you ask, the answer is probably here. Hopefully this will help with your questions.

Search Form

The State drop-down selection doesn't work.
You are using Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 or 10. Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) must be used in "Compatibility View" mode, otherwise the search form features and drop downs won't work. This a specific, known problem with the non-standard way IE interprets HTML forms. All other major Internet browsers work correctly and do not require something called "Compatibility View" to be compatible with the Internet.

To set "Compatibility View" mode in IE please click the button with the picture of the broken page that is immediately to the right of the URL box in the IE Menu Bar. Search features will work correctly in IE Compatibility View.

More Information:

Bridge Database Questions

Can you help me find a bridge in the NBI Bridge Database?
Yes, I can try, however I'm short of time and don't respond quickly to emails. The NBI Bridge Database is complex and the data quality varies from state to state so much that after all these years I still haven't documented the best way to use my website for bridge research. I'm still working on the NBI Database User Guide.

You put the wrong info in the National Bridge Database.
The NBI contains whatever the State DOT submitted to the FHWA. Rubbish in, rubbish out. Some states are much better at this than others.

You need to repair or inspect XYZ bridge before it collapses like the Minnesota bridge.
Contact your local Department of Transportation about possible structural defects in bridges. I'm a photographer / database engineer in Massachusetts and can't do anything about your bridge.

Can you supply us with Excel tables of bridge data?
Not at this time.

There's a bug in the NBI search feature. I get no results or I get unexpected or bad results.
Please email me and tell me what's not working.

The NBI ASCII tables that the FHWA made available on their website are difficult to read, can you help?
That is the reason exists. The ASCII tables are not human-readable, thus I designed a relational database to easily read them and made it publicly accessible on the web for free.

The information about a bridge is out of date. When did you get this information?
The data is current as of the 2016 National Bridge Inventory released January 2017. The data was collected from the State DOTs during 2016 which means that inspection and other data would have been current as of end-of-year 2015. Any changes since 2015 are not reflected in the 2016 NBI.

Can you send me a detailed list of bridges in some state meeting a certain criteria in the NBI?
Not at this time.

There's a mistake in the Bridge Database.
Yep, probably. The bridge data is provided by the state DOTs as-is to the FHWA and it frequently contains errors. Once I get the data from the FHWA I then convert the NBI to a multi-level MySQL database, but I do not try to clean up the data errors.