LOGAN — Utah State University engineering researchers Marvin Halling, Paul Barr and Kevin Womack received $5 million as part of a national study on bridge safety.

The funding is provided by the Federal Highway Administration Office of Infrastructure, Research and Development as part of its Long-Term Bridge Performance Program.

According to USU, the university was asked to work as subcontractor by Rutgers University, the lead institution on the research project. Rutgers received $25 million to begin the project and will give $5 million to USU over five years to study the monitoring and inspection frequency of bridges located in the western United States.

In addition, the state of Utah and the Utah Transportation Center located at USU are providing $1.15 million to assist with the study of Utah bridges.

The Virginia Transportation Research Council and Virginia Tech University will monitor bridges in the eastern United States.

"The Minnesota bridge collapse in the late summer of 2007 made bridge safety a more important topic to the public," Halling said. "But the public should know that the Federal Highway Administration had been looking into this issue long before that tragedy happened. Most bridges are designed to have a life span of 30 to 40 years, and the government and state highway offices are well aware that many bridges have outlived their life span."