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County offices are closed on Monday, October 9, for Indigenous Peoples' Day.

Structural Design and Approval

Responsibilities of the Structural Design and Approval Division include:

  • Ensure the structural integrity and safety of 670 public bridges and some retaining walls throughout the County
  • Biannual bridge inspections
  • Issue and review temporary bridge overload permits
  • Provide support to other agencies as needed with retaining walls, buildings and bridges within the park system
  • Developing maintenance and construction programs

Biannual Bridge Inspections

All bridges which span lengths over 20 feet are required to be inspected every two years by Federal law. These inspections must comply with the Federal Highway Administration's National Bridge Inspection Standards. The costs for these inspections are covered 100 percent by Federal funds. Baltimore County follows the same procedures for their minor bridge structures (those between eight and 20 feet.) The inspections for the minor bridges are funded by the County, and when available, State aid. The County also maintains an on-call maintenance contractor for repairs and minor replacement projects.

Bridge Design Criteria

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) maintain the building codes for both roadway and bridge construction in the United States.

  • For roadway bridges—We refer to the AASHTO Standard Specifications for Highway Bridges manual and it's successor the AASHTO Load Resistance Factor Design Bridge Design Specifications, which provided criteria governing the structural engineering and geotechnical aspects relating to bridge design.
  • For roadway widths over bridges—Both the above manuals refer to the AASHTO Policy on Geometric Design of Highway and Streets. This document governs road design. These criteria were incorporated into the Baltimore County Design Standards and Policies for Rural Baltimore County roads.

Bridge Replacement

The decision to replace a bridge is based on the findings of the biannual inspection reports. Once County engineers determine a structure needs to be replaced: 


When Federal funds are used, projects must be reviewed by the Maryland State Highway Administration. There is also some additional environmental review documentation required on Federal aid projects.

  • Bridges under 20 feet in length are 100 percent funded by the County. Occasionally, a bridge over 30 feet long will be replaced using 100 percent County funds, however Baltimore County is committed to using Federal funding whenever possible.
  • Bridges over 20 feet in length and meeting certain criteria qualify for Federal Bridge Replacement funds. These Federal funds pay for 80 percent of the design and construction costs associated with a project.

Learn More

Once a year the Division of Engineering and Construction conducts an open workshop to receive public input on all projects location outside the County's Urban Rural Demarcation Line. Public meetings may also be conducted for individual projects. Bureau of Engineering personnel are available to speak at civic groups by appointment.

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Contact Us

Structural Design and Approval

111 West Chesapeake Avenue
Room 200
Towson, Maryland 21204


Monday through Friday
8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.




Kevin J. Sabolcik, P.E.


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