Protecting America’s Bridges and Tunnels

Wednesday, February 8, 2017
The Oakland Bay Bridge in San Francisco is one of the structures assessed by TSA in a nationwide report.

Bridges and tunnels connect where we are to where we want to be. If you never thought about how important they are, try avoiding them.

After more than six years of work, the Office of Security Policy and Industry Engagement’s Surface Division has completed vulnerability assessments that can be used by bridge and tunnel owners and operators to protect the more than 600,000 such structures nationwide.

“The culmination of this project provides a guide to the protection of virtually every surface bridge and tunnel type in America,” said Surface Division Director Sonya Proctor.

Local officials and owners of structures that could become victimized in a terrorist attack are being provided with the assessments so they can better evaluate where their own structures may be most vulnerable to attack and understand potential mitigation tools to protect those points.

“Owners of bridges in America will be able to see quickly where they need to focus corrective measures and have an understanding of the projected costs to take those steps,” said Proctor. “The project was a first of its kind for TSA to provide structural as well as operational vulnerability assessments and mitigation tools.”

The assessments are being sent to each state’s Homeland Security Advisor and Department of Transportation, making the assessments available to any bridge or tunnel operator in that state. The assessments and reports are marked Classified or Sensitive Security Information, and review is limited to persons with the appropriate clearance and need to know.

TSA partnered on this project with the Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, the engineering firm of Black and Veatch and countless state, local and municipal engineers.