The Road and Bridge Research Institute (IBDiM) in Warsaw was established on 1 January 1955 under the name of Road Construction Institute (IBD) [Resolution of the Council of Ministers of 1954]. Renamed in 1959 as the Central Research and Development Centre for Road Technology (COBiRTD) [Order of the Minister of Transport of 1959], in 1974 it was given its present name of IBDiM [Order of the Prime Minister of 1973]. At its beginnings, the Institute referred to the pre-war traditions of the Road Research Institute operating between 1929 and 1939 at the Warsaw University of Technology. Scientific and research work was conducted under the supervision of Prof. Melchior Nestorowicz (1888 - 1939), an outstanding specialist in road construction and an organizer of road administration in the interwar period.

The Road Construction Institute was established at the initiative and through the efforts of Aleksander Gajkowicz, M.Sc., Eng. (1897-1971), Director of the Department of Roadway System in the Ministry of Transportation, later Director General of the Central Public Road Administration and Deputy Minister of Transportation. Gajkowicz, a graduate of the Warsaw University of Technology, while still working for the pre-war Ministry of Transportation, had a great influence on the modernization of roads. After the war, he was able to gather the best pre-war professionals around him and create strong road administration that could be a model for other countries. His name is associated with the construction of 25,000 km of new roads and the upgrading of 32,000 km of existing roads between 1945 and 1965.

The newly formed Institute was given a statutory obligation to comprehensively address the development of national road technology. In its early days, the Institute contributed to the development of national bridge and road technology. Noteworthy is its research and implementation work in the field of soil stabilization and deep foundations, which revolutionized road and bridge construction methods in Poland.

We can also speak of the Institute's merits in the improvement of the condition of local roads, in the field of asphalt pavement construction, in the search for new materials, in the treatment of waste materials, in the modernization of road machinery structure. Thanks to the Institute, new solutions and new technologies for road and bridge construction were developed. This was confirmed by, among others, awards for soil stabilization methods and the introduction of large diameter piles into the construction industry.

In the early 1970s, new problems arose in preparation for motorway construction, the introduction of containerization, the construction of large engineering structures, and the adaptation of existing roads to carry bigger loads. The Institute supported all important transport infrastructure investment projects in the country with scientific work, research and consultations. Examples include the construction of Łazienkowska Route in Warsaw, Central Railway Trunk-line, modernisation of the railway lines in Silesia, construction of the Gliwice - Kraków motorway and the main expressway from Warsaw to Katowice.

The Institute's core activities included physical and chemical testing of materials used in road and bridge construction, technical conditions for the use of materials, the principles of using substitute materials, the principles of design and technical inspection of roads and bridges, road construction and maintenance technology, road traffic research and adjustment of roads to safety and environmental protection requirements, prototypes of laboratory apparatus and research equipment, implementation of new technical solutions, development of opinions and expertise.

Implementation activities played an increasingly important role. The Institute carried out research on roads, bridges, foundations, road-building machinery, determined construction technologies, provided scientific supervision, carried out consultations and gave advice, developed expert opinions pointing to design directions and methods of construction and reconstruction of transport facilities. Together with design offices and contracting organizations, it introduced new structures, technologies, equipment, and new design and inspection principles into the practice of transport infrastructure construction.
Starting from 1990, the IBDiM began systematic modernization of laboratories and equipping them with state-of-the-art, unique equipment. Branch offices of the Institute in Żmigród (Bridge, Concrete and Aggregate Research Centre) and Kielce (Bridge Research Centre) were built from scratch.

The IBDiM has 13 laboratories accredited by the Polish Centre for Accreditation (PCA):

Pavement Diagnostics Laboratory - Certificate Number AB 426

Pile Testing Field Laboratory - Certificate Number AB 425

Geotechnial Engineering Laboratory - Certificate number AB 421

Asphalt Material Unit - Certificate Number AB 422

Asphalt Technology Unit - Certificate Number AB 423

Road Marking Unit - Certificate Number AB 424

Bridge Structure Research Laboratory - Certificate Number AB 547

Bridge Diagnostics and Repair Team - Certificate Number AB 580

Crash Test and Road Meteorology Team - Certificate Number AB 1025

Bridge and Drainage System Unit - Certificate Number AB 1106

Concrete and Aggregate Unit - Certificate Number AB 1107

Bridge Anticorrosion Protection Team - Certificate Number AB 1424

Bridge Structure and Material Testing Laboratory - Certificate Number AB 1562

Since 1998, through its Product Certification Division, the Institute has been certifying products used in road and bridge construction.

The IBDiM's Product Certification Division holds the PCA accreditation certificate in accordance with PN-EN 45011 “General requirements for bodies operating product certification systems”; certificate number AC 052.

On 30 August 2010, under the Decision No. 10/AU/WB/10, the Minister of Infrastructure extended the previous scope of the IBDiM’s authorization. The authorization related to conformity certification and factory production control certification activities (vertical road signs, traffic calming systems, mineral and asphalt mixtures).
The extension of authorization applies to two areas of the Institute:

  • tests according to PN-EN 1317-5+A1:2009, including traffic calming systems, i.e. protective barriers, ropes, handrails, crash cushions;
  • certification of factory production control of cationic emulsions that meet the requirements of PN-EN 13808:2010.

The authorization decision of the Road and Bridge Research Institute was notified to the European Commission and Member States of the European Union on 9 September 2010.

The Minister of Transport, Construction and Maritime Economy, under Decision No. 2/JOT/WB/13 of 20 November 2013, designated the Road and Bridge Research Institute as the Technical Assessment Body (TAB) authorised to issue European Technical Assessments.

From 1 July 2013, the European Technical Assessments are granted instead of European Technical Approvals, in accordance with Regulation (EU) No. 305 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2011 laying down harmonised conditions for the marketing of construction products and repealing Council Directive 89/106/EEC.

In recent years, the Institute has been putting more and more emphasis on the problems of engineering practice, which is evidenced by the growing number of patents and implementations of the latest technologies, especially concerning new types of asphalt-concrete pavements, construction and repair of bridges, geotechnical engineering, foundations, introduction of modern methods for testing the quality of materials and works, the use of modern apparatus for measuring the technical and operational characteristics of pavements, etc.

Research into binder and aggregate properties, the use of modified asphalts and asphalt emulsions has made it possible to design deformation-resistant pavements. Particularly useful were also catalogues prepared by the Institute, such as “Catalogue of typical flexible and semi-rigid pavement structures”, “Catalogue of typical rigid pavement structures”, “Catalogue of strengthening and rehabilitation of flexible and semi-rigid pavement structures”. The Institute has also developed and introduced pavement and substructure technologies using waste materials, ash, granulated steelmaking slag, etc.

In the field of bridge construction technology, it demonstrated its own systems for prestressing post-tensioned concrete structures, foundation of bridge structures on large diameter piles, use of new types of bearings, expansion joints, insulation and drainage.

Diagnosing the condition of road pavement has become a strong part of the Institute's work. Using the state-of-the-art measurement equipment, the condition of the pavement is assessed and models of the pavement's behaviour over time are created. The pavement rating system plays an important role if road budgets are cut and investment spending is reduced. This is because it allows for making the best use of the money held. It is one of the basic tools that help to decide how to allocate resources, determine the location of works and establish a list of priorities.

Increasing traffic has created new research problems and necessitated the use of new materials, designs, technologies, and maintenance systems similar to those in use in the West.

A lot of research work has been done recently, most of which has been applied in practice. The outcomes of much of this work were resulted from collaborations with national research centres: Polish Academy of Sciences, technical universities and other research institutes.

The development of a computerized road meteorological service system is advanced. The network of stations that warn of glaze ice is expanding, thus reducing hazards and winter maintenance costs. Latest electronic methods of measuring, recording and reading the data collected are used.

The Institute, coordinating the standardization activities of the road construction industry, has developed most of the standards for roads and bridges, as well as a coherent system of bridge standardization, which comprises loads, principles of design and construction as well as testing of structures.

Particularly important for the Institute is the cooperation with the state and road administration, especially with the Ministry of Infrastructure and the General Directorate for National Roads and Motorways, as well as city and suburban road authorities and directorates. This mutual interaction provides significant benefits to the road industry.

The Institute is open to international relations. In 1994, as the first among the institutes of the post-communist countries, it was associated with road research centres of 18 EEC and EFTA countries affiliated in FEHRL ( Forum of European National Highway Research Laboratories). In addition, the Institute staff actively participate in the work of such foreign organizations as: FERSI (Forum of European Road Safety Research Institutes), PIARC (World Road Association), IABSE (International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering), RILEM (International Union of Laboratories and Experts in Construction Materials, Systems and Structures), FGSV (Road and Transportation Research Association - Germany), AAPT (Association of Asphalt Pavement Technologists, USA), EFC (European Federation of Corrosion), OECD/JTRC (International Transport Forum).