[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 246 (Thursday, December 24, 2009)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 68377-68379]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-30469]



Federal Highway Administration

23 CFR Part 650

[FHWA Docket No. FHWA-2009-0074]
RIN 2125-AF33

National Bridge Inspection Standards

AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT.

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: The American Association of State Highway and Transportation 
Officials (AASHTO) Manual for Condition Evaluation of Bridges, 1994,

[[Page 68378]]

second edition (also referred to as ``the Manual''), together with the 
2001 and 2003 Interim Revisions, is incorporated by reference in FHWA 
regulations, approved by the Federal Highway Administration, and 
recognized as a national standard for bridge inspections and load 
rating. The purpose of this final rule is to update the incorporation 
by reference language to incorporate the most recent version of the 
AASHTO Manual, now known as The Manual for Bridge Evaluation, First 
Edition, 2008.

DATES: This rule becomes effective January 25, 2010. The incorporation 
by reference of certain publications listed in the rule is approved by 
the Director of the Federal Register as of January 25, 2010.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Thomas Everett, Office of Bridge 
Technology, (202) 366-4675; or Mr. Robert Black, Office of the Chief 
Counsel, (202) 366-1359, Federal Highway Administration, 1200 New 
Jersey Ave., SE., Washington, DC 20590. Office hours are from 7:45 a.m. 
to 4:15 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.


Electronic Access and Filing

    This document, the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), and all 
comments received can be viewed online through the Federal eRulemaking 
portal at: http://www.regulations.gov. It is available 24 hours each 
day, 365 days each year.
    An electronic copy of this document may also be downloaded from the 
Office of the Federal Register's home page at: http://www.archives.gov 
and the Government Printing Office's Web page at: http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara.


    This Final Rule is being issued to announce the revision to the 
incorporation by reference of the AASHTO Manual in the National Bridge 
Inspection Standards (NBIS).
    The Manual for Bridge Evaluation, First Edition (MBE) was adopted 
by the AASHTO Highways Subcommittee on Bridges and Structures in 2005. 
The MBE combines The Manual for Condition Evaluation of Bridges, Second 
Edition, and its 2001 and 2003 Interim Revisions with the Guide Manual 
for Condition Evaluation and Load and Resistance Factor Rating of 
Highway Bridges, First Edition, and its 2005 Interim Revisions. 
Revisions based on approved agenda items from annual AASHTO 
Subcommittee meetings in 2007 and 2008 are also incorporated into the 
    The MBE, First Edition, 2008, supersedes The Manual for Condition 
Evaluation of Bridges, Second Edition, and the 2001 and 2003 Interim 
Revisions, which are currently incorporated by reference at 23 CFR 
650.317. The MBE offers assistance to bridge owners at all phases of 
bridge inspection and evaluation. The Manual serves as a standard and 
provides uniformity in the procedures and policies for determining the 
physical condition, maintenance needs, and load capacity of the 
Nation's highway bridges.
    Because the information incorporated by reference at 23 CFR 650.317 
has been superseded, the FHWA is updating the NBIS regulation to 
reflect the latest information contained in the AASHTO documents. The 
FHWA also is updating the definition for ``AASHTO Manual'' to reflect 
the updated document.
    The FHWA proposed these revisions in its NPRM published in the 
Federal Register at 74 FR 44793 on August 31st. The FHWA did not 
receive any comments to the NPRM and therefore adopts the revisions as 

Rulemaking Analysis and Notices

Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review) and U.S. DOT 
Regulatory Policies and Procedures

    The FHWA has determined that this action would not be a significant 
regulatory action within the meaning of Executive Order 12866 or 
significant within the meaning of U.S. Department of Transportation 
regulatory policies and procedures. These changes are not anticipated 
to adversely affect, in any material way, any sector of the economy. 
The FHWA believes that the incorporation of the MBE within the NBIS 
regulation will greatly improve consistency and uniformity in the 
application of bridge inspection and load rating procedures. In 
addition, these changes would not create a serious inconsistency with 
any other agency's action or materially alter the budgetary impact of 
any entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs. Therefore, a 
full regulatory evaluation is not required.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    In compliance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (Pub. L. 96-354, 
5 U.S.C. 601-612), the FHWA has evaluated the effects of these changes 
on small entities and has determined that this action would not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    This Final Rule would not impose unfunded mandates as defined by 
the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4, 109 Stat. 48, 
March 22, 1995). This action would not result in the expenditure by 
State, local, and Tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the 
private sector, of $128.1 million or more in any one year (2 U.S.C. 

Executive Order 13132 (Federalism)

    This action has been analyzed in accordance with the principles and 
criteria contained in Executive Order 13132 dated August 4, 1999, and 
the FHWA has determined that this action would not have sufficient 
federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a federalism 
assessment. The FHWA has also determined that this rulemaking will not 
preempt any State law or State regulation or affect the States' ability 
to discharge traditional State governmental functions.

Executive Order 13175 (Tribal Consultation)

    The FHWA has analyzed this action under Executive Order 13175, 
dated November 6, 2000, and believes that it would not have substantial 
direct effects on one or more Indian Tribes; would not impose 
substantial direct compliance costs on Indian Tribal governments; and 
would not preempt Tribal law. Therefore, a Tribal summary impact 
statement is not required.

Executive Order 13211 (Energy Effects)

    The FHWA has analyzed this action under Executive Order 13211, 
Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, 
Distribution, or Use. We have determined that it is not a significant 
energy action under that order because it is not likely to have a 
significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of 
energy. Therefore, a Statement of Energy Effects under Executive Order 
13211 is not required.

Executive Order 12372 (Intergovernmental Review)

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance program Number 20.205, 
Highway Planning and Construction. The regulations implementing 
Executive Order 12372 regarding intergovernmental consultation on 
Federal programs and activities apply to this program.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501, et 
seq.), Federal agencies must obtain approval from the Office of 
Management and Budget for each collection of information they conduct, 
sponsor, or require through regulations. The FHWA

[[Page 68379]]

has determined that this action does not contain collection information 
requirements for purposes of the PRA.

Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform)

    This action meets applicable standards in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) 
of Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform, to minimize litigation, 
eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden.

Executive Order 13045 (Protection of Children)

    The FHWA has analyzed this action under Executive Order 13045, 
Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety 
Risks. The FHWA certifies that this action would not concern an 
environmental risk to health or safety that may disproportionately 
affect children.

Executive Order 12630 (Taking of Private Property)

    The FHWA does not anticipate that this action would affect a taking 
of private property or otherwise have taking implications under 
Executive Order 12630, Governmental Actions and Interference with 
Constitutionally Protected Property Rights.

National Environmental Policy Act

    The agency has analyzed this action for the purpose of the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321-4347) and has 
determined that it would not have any effect on the quality of the 

Regulation Identification Number

    A regulation identification number (RIN) is assigned to each 
regulatory action listed in the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulations. 
The Regulatory Information Service Center publishes the Unified Agenda 
in April and October of each year. The RIN contained in the heading of 
this document can be used to cross reference this action with the 
Unified Agenda.

List of Subjects in 23 CFR Part 650

    Bridges, Grant programs--Transportation, Highways and roads, 
Incorporation by reference, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Issued on: December 15, 2009.
Victor M. Mendez,

In consideration of the foregoing, the FHWA amends title 23, Code of 
Federal Regulations part 650 as follows:


1. The authority citation for part 650 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 23 U.S.C. 109(a) and (h), 144, 151, 315, and 319; 33 
U.S.C. 401, 491 et seq.; 511 et seq.; sec. 4(b) of Pub. L. 97-134, 
95 Stat. 1699 (1981); sec. 161 of Pub. L. 97-424, 96 Stat. 2097, at 
3135 (1983); sec. 1311 of Pub. L. 105-178, as added by Pub. L. 105-
206, 112 Stat. 842 (1998); 23 CFR 1.32; 49 CFR 1.48(b); E.O. 11988 
(3 CFR, 1977 Comp., p. 117); Department of Transportation Order 
5650.2, dated April 23, 1979 (44 FR 24678).

Subpart C--National Bridge Inspection Standards

2. Amend Sec.  650.305 by revising the definition of ``American 
Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) 
Manual'' to read as follows:

Sec.  650.305  Definitions.

* * * * *
    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials 
(AASHTO) Manual. ``The Manual for Bridge Evaluation,'' First Edition, 
2008, published by the American Association of State Highway and 
Transportation Officials (incorporated by reference, see Sec.  
* * * * *

3. Revise Sec.  650.317 to read as follows:

Sec.  650.317  Reference manuals.

    (a) The materials listed in this subpart are incorporated by 
reference in the corresponding sections noted. These incorporations by 
reference were approved by the Director of the Federal Register in 
accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. These materials are 
incorporated as they exist on the date of the approval, and notice of 
any change in these documents will be published in the Federal 
Register. The materials are available for purchase at the address 
listed below, and are available for inspection at the National Archives 
and Records Administration (NARA). These materials may also be reviewed 
at the Department of Transportation Library, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, 
SE., Washington, DC 20590, (202) 366-0761. For information on the 
availability of these materials at NARA call (202) 741-6030, or go to 
the following URL: http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal_regulations/ibr_locations.htm. In the event there is a 
conflict between the standards in this subpart and any of these 
materials, the standards in this subpart will apply.
    (b) The following materials are available for purchase from the 
American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, 
Suite 249, 444 N. Capitol Street, NW., Washington, DC 20001, (202) 624-
5800. The materials may also be ordered via the AASHTO bookstore 
located at the following URL: http://www.transportation.org.
    (1) The Manual for Bridge Evaluation, First Edition, 2008, AASHTO, 
incorporation by reference approved for Sec. Sec.  650.305 and 650.313.
    (2) [Reserved]

[FR Doc. E9-30469 Filed 12-23-09; 8:45 am]