Abba Lichtenstein, Historic Bridge Expert Whose Work Led to Federal Bridge Inspection Program, Dies

March 18, 2015

Abba Lichtenstein

Distinguished Member Abba G. Lichtenstein, Ph.D., P.E., acclaimed for his efforts to restore and preserve historic bridges and founder of a New York–based consulting firm in his name, died March 13 at his home in Washington, D.C. He was 92.

Mr. Lichtenstein founded A.G. Lichtenstein & Associates in 1963 to design and evaluate bridges, aqueducts, and canal locks, and stepped away from the firm in 1986 to form a one-person consultancy specializing in rescuing aging, yet historic, bridges. During his more than 45 years of experience in the design, inspection, and rating of bridges and waterfront structures, he helped develop national standards for the inspection and rating of all types of bridges. He was principal investigator for the research that resulted in the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials’ AASHTO Manual for Condition Evaluation of Bridges and a National Cooperative Highway Research Program manual for rating bridges through load testing. His investigation of the 1967 Silver Bridge collapse led to an act of Congress that implemented a regular bridge inspection program.

He was a civil engineering graduate of Ohio State University, which granted him an honorary doctorate of engineering in 1984 and established an Abba G. Lichtenstein Professorship in Civil Engineering in 1988.

He was a member of numerous professional organizations aside from ASCE. In 1991 he was elected to ASCE’s highest level of membership after president-emeritus, that of Honorary Member, after he received the coveted History and Heritage Award.

Mr. Lichtenstein shared his passion for the preservation and restoration of historic bridges in the December 2000 issue of Roads and Bridges.

1 Comment
  • Mohammad Siddique

    Very saddened to learn of Mr. Lichtenstein leaving us, a truly distinguished professional, I
    remember my days 1978-1980 when I worked with him and thoroughly enjoyed his professionalism, passion and technical guidance. My prayers and respect for the departed soul and best wishes for his family and friends.

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