ICSBOA Member Spotlight: Mackinac Bridge · St. Ignace and Mackinaw City, Michigan, U.S.A.

What is ICSBOA


The International Cable Supported Bridge Operators Association (ICSBOA) was originally conceived of in 1991 by the New York State Bridge Authority (NYSBA) as it wrestled with fresh findings from its internal main cable investigations. The name of the organization began as the International Suspension Bridge Operators’ Association.

Back in 1991, black pits, cracked wires, heavy corrosion, brittle fractures and loss of ductility were all topics that the NYS Bridge Authority had more questions than answers for. More to the point, a small public authority from upstate NY did not have the financial resources to pursue all the research recommended by the experts.

NYSBA decided to invite all the bridge owners worldwide with suspension bridges over 1,000 feet to a conference in Poughkeepsie where the Mid-Hudson Bridge main cable lay wedged open for all to see. Not only did our industry need answers to the issues degrading our main cables, but an awareness was also sorely needed of the remaining strength of degraded cables for bridges around the world.

Over 100 engineers descended on the Mid-Hudson Valley where, despite their wide variation in language, culture and experience, it was determined that we all enjoy talking about bridges and drinking beer! And the association was born! The second conference followed in 2000, again held in New York, and after that, regular conferences were held every three years or rotating to different segments of the globe. As the group expanded, the name was changed to International Cable Supported Bridge Operators Association (ICSBOA) to include cable stayed bridges. Finally, in 2013, at the conference in Edinburgh, formal by-laws were adopted along with the formation of a governing body.

The Association was formed to provide a forum for international operators of large cable-supported bridges to exchange experiences, share thoughts and opinions and learn from best practices. The association enables dialogue to take place confidentially and without the influence of commercial interests. The aim is to advance the importance of efficient operation and maintenance of bridges worldwide. The association arranges conferences (ICSBOC) and workshops (ICSBOW) for its members. In addition to conferences and workshops, communication among the members on timely topics takes place via e-mails, one on one meetings and through the ICSBOA MS Teams site.

Governance and Organization

ICSBOA is managed by a permanent body with members from three regions in which the association is currently represented: Asia, Europe and North America. Each region is represented in the permanent body by two operators selected by the ICSBOA members of the region concerned. Currently, the permanent body has the following members:

North America

Halifax Harbour Bridges Canada



Bridge Expressway Co. Ltd.Japan

Jiangsu Communications Holding China


Sund & Bælt Holding A/S Denmark

Tamar Bridge UK

Duties of the permanent body

To recruit new members of ICSBOA

To decide on venue and organizers of future conferences and workshops

To actively support organizers of ICSBOC and ICSBOW in attracting participants and presentations from all regions

To keep this ICSBOA website updated with general information to members and to promote its active use among its members

To decide on strategic issues in ICSBOA

To further develop ICSBOA and to promote the importance of efficient O&M

The permanent body is headed by a chairman, who is elected for a three-year term by the members of the permanent body. Normally this election takes place at a workshop in connection with the conference every two to three years. The chairman will lead the work of the permanent body and is the spokesperson of the organization. At the conference in Nantong China 2018, Justine Tietjen, representing MTA C&D, was re-appointed as chairman by the permanent body for the period beginning October 2022.

ICSBOA Services

Every two years a conference is held in one of the represented regions: Asia, North America and Europe. Participants are members or potential members of the ICSBOA. Consultants, suppliers and research/educational institutions may participate if they are recommended by an ICSBOA member and are accepted by the steering committee of the conference.

The main content of the conferences is operation and maintenance of bridges. Papers and presentations are reserved for bridge operators and/or consultants, suppliers and research/education institutions participating as speakers on behalf an operator on condition that they present papers related to operation and maintenance of bridges.

The organizer of a conference is appointed by the permanent body and a steering committee is set up with participants from the organizer and one representative from each region in the permanent body.

The steering committee for a conference has the following duties:

To define the programme for the conference and appoint the Technical Chairperson for the conference,

Approve the conference venue and general programme and assist the conference host in the planning and the management of the conference

To assist the Conference host in active promotion of the conference to potential participants and speakers

To assist the conference host in planning the workshop (see Workshops)

International workshops among the ICSBOA members take place at conferences, and regional workshops take place between conferences.

The format of these workshops is normally a closed confidential roundtable discussion between the ICSBOA’s members on actual problems and experience related to operation and maintenance of bridges or on other topics of mutual interest. The workshop may be extended with a technical visit to sites or institutions in the region. Normally, the workshop will take place over two days.

Only ICSBOA members (and potential members) can participate. In exceptional cases consultants, suppliers or institutions may participate part time in the workshop in order to present a specific topic on behalf of one of the members. Other non-member bridge operators in the region may also be invited to participate in part of the workshop in order to highlight and discuss special topics of interest for the workshop participants.

The international workshops held in conjunction with the international conference are organized by the conference host or another ICSBOA member nominated steering committee.

The organizer is responsible for setting up an agenda for the workshop in due time for proper preparation of discussions among the members at the workshop. Topics can be collected from other members in order to secure actuality and mutual interest. Often proposals for the next workshop are presented at the previous workshop. A standard concept for workshops will be available on the website.

The regional workshops are arranged in turn by the operators within the three regions. Regional workshops held in the years between ICSBOA conferences are encouraged to keep communication between members flowing. These workshops are organized by an ICSBOA member for each region, and held under the ICSBOA umbrella on condition that the permanent body is informed and accepts this beforehand and that the members from other regions can attend such workshops as guests.

The permanent body can promote the role of long-term focus on operation and maintenance and the role of the ICSBOA in this connection to the international press and to parties with special interest in these topics e.g. public or private owners of new infrastructures. Early focus on operation and maintenance in the planning of new bridges by involving ICSBOA members in reviews at early stages can be promoted.

The permanent body can decide to extend the ICSBOA’s activities to other topics and to extend the criteria of membership if all members of the permanent body agree on this.

The Language of communication including workshops, conferences, formal papers, and presentations is English.

ICSBOA has responded to the circumstances presented by the global COVID-19 pandemic by creating an exclusive ICSBOA MS Teams site where we will deliver a robust and exclusive program of online regional owners’ workshops and a series of short international owners’ workshops on a variety of topics of interest to members that will be offered in 2021 and beyond. As important, members will be able to collaborate and engage with other members in special interest discussion groups and meetings.

ICSBOA Membership Spotlight