Asset Management Extends Life of Kansas City Bridge Network

Awards, Projects | March 25, 2021


Photo of Benesch employee performing a bridge assessment

KANSAS CITY, MO — The consequences of time have left communities nationwide searching for a resource-friendly solution to managing their aging infrastructure. For Kansas City, MissouriBenesch’s award-winning asset management approach provided a data-driven path to maintaining, preserving and extending the operational lives of their bridges.

Through digital data collection and deterioration forecasting, asset management enables an agency to develop a comprehensive understanding of what assets they have, their current condition, and the actions and/or investments required to maintain desired performance levels.

From bridges, sidewalks and signs to utilities and city parks, assets impact how the public perceives and interacts with their community. Benesch Senior Project Manager Chris Harker believes that a preventative approach to asset management not only extends the life of an agency’s assets but improves public trust.

“All assets, no matter their function, provide a service to the community. By analyzing the data collected and considering the community impact of all assets, we develop a program that is proactive rather than reactive,” said Harker. “Our clients are able to look ahead and make defendable, data-backed decisions on what actions are needed and how their resources can be best allocated for the community.”

Photo of Benesch's employee performing asset management filed data gathering
Tablets are used to complete digital inspection forms in the field. Data validation checks are completed onsite, and the data is automatically uploaded into the system.
Photo of a sample Life Cycle Chart
Through condition forecasting methods, models are created to identify preservation and repair activities. These crucial measures can extend the planned service life of an asset—sometimes by up to 50 years.

Benesch’s asset management program in Kansas City was recently recognized with an Honor Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) Missouri. The program is a prime example of how effective asset management can lead to practical and sustainable strategies for extending the operational lives of public assets.

“Utilizing deterioration forecasting methods, we modeled the future performance of the Kansas City bridge inventory to identify key points in each structure’s life to enact maintenance activities and schedule replacements to maximize the return on investment of the city’s funding,” said Benesch Project Engineer Jarrod Russell.

Since the end of 2018, Kansas City has saved an estimated 1,500 manhours, 2.2 tons of CO2 and 12,000 pages of paper. With the actionable data provided and money saved, the Department of Public Works was able to launch a new annual bridge maintenance program ahead of schedule.

“This program in Kansas City stemmed from a bridge inspection program,” explained Russell. “From that initial project, we started to see the bigger picture and how programs could work together to save resources for the city.”

Other departments in Kansas City and the state are implementing similar proactive management programs. In Missouri, Kansas and other states across the country, Benesch is currently engaged with agencies to turn strategic-level concepts into real-world application tools for managing bridges, culverts, pavements, sidewalks, signs, treatment plants, pump stations, storm sewers, facilities and other asset categories.

“Our generation’s challenge is to repurpose what we can for the future,” said Harker. “As engineers, our number one job isn’t to build new networks but to determine how we can maintain and extend the service life of existing infrastructure—and asset management, when implemented correctly, can make all the difference.”