This study examines tens of thousands of bridge decks in order to identify their standard deterioration rate. This in turn helps create standardized bridge lifetime expectations and allows researchers to identify more effective maintenance treatments for bridge decks.

Author(s): Shervin Jahangirnejad, Ph.D., P.E.; Dennis Morian, M.S., P.E.; Alexandra Radlińska, Ph.D.; Farshad Rajabipour, Ph.D.
Date : 2017
Client: Transportation Research Board


Life-cycle cost analysis (LCCA) activities are presented for evaluating alternative bridge deck preservation strategies over the useful life of concrete bridge decks in Pennsylvania. Performance information was taken from data collected from the field inspection of deck cracking in forty concrete bridge decks, and performance data from over 200 additional decks contained in the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) bridge inspection database. A performance model based on 22,000 bridge data provided information about the change in deck condition over time. Additional information including which preservation treatments are used by PennDOT and the performance life of these treatments was based on expert opinion from the PennDOT staff. Life-cycle cost analyses were performed using the FHWA RealCost program.

Life-cycle costs over a fifty-year analysis period are presented illustrating the application of LCCA to bridge decks, and providing cost comparisons of bridge deck preservation strategies including the use of different treatments, treatment sequences, and application timing. Typical deck preservation treatments include latex-modified concrete overlays, epoxy overlays, and waterproofing membrane & bituminous overlay. Results generally indicate that fewer, longer lasting preservation strategies provide the best cost effectiveness over the analysis period. In order to achieve enhanced performance, additional analyses were carried out based on both performance life and service life predictions. The service life predictions are based on the prediction of life based on the materials components using the LIFE-365 model. This service life prediction is a micro level assessment and is based on the prediction of critical rebar corrosion in the bridge decks.