Performance of Bridge Deck Concrete Overlays

    Published: Jan 1990

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    This paper documents performance of twelve concrete bridge decks in Washington State that were rehabilitated and/or protected with latex-modified concrete and low-slump dense concrete overlays in order to prevent further deicing salt penetration and concrete deterioration caused by reinforcing steel corrosion. An evaluation is made of the factors that have affected the serviceability of those overlaid bridge decks, and recommendations are made based on that evaluation for the design and construction of concrete overlays in order to improve bridge deck performance and to extend bridge deck service life. The factors evaluated are overlay freeze-thaw scaling, surface wear and skid resistance, surface cracking, bond with the underlying deck, chloride and water intrusion, and finally the concrete overlay's ability to retard continued reinforcing steel corrosion and corresponding concrete deterioration.

    The results of the evaluation indicate that, regardless of concrete deterioration caused by reinforcing steel corrosion, concrete overlaid bridge decks will require resurfacing after about 25 years of service. That maintenance will be needed as a result of traffic action and weathering. Typical forms of distress are freeze-thaw scaling, extensive wear in wheel lines, lack of skid resistance, and the loss of overlay bond. Concrete overlays are resistant but not impermeable to chloride infiltration. Further contamination of the underlying deck occurs in time depending on the rate of salt application. There are indications that the continued corrosion of reinforcing steel in the salt-contaminated underlying deck is less extensive in the absence of overlay surface cracking. There are numerous reasons for concrete overlays cracking during construction and service, and those reasons and their relation to the performance of bridge decks is discussed.


    bridge deck, concrete, reinforcing steel, corrosion, overlay, rehabilitation, protection

    Author Information:

    Babaei, K
    Senior research engineer and professor of engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

    Hawkins, NM
    Senior research engineer and professor of engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

    Paper ID: STP14544S

    Committee/Subcommittee: D04.36

    DOI: 10.1520/STP14544S

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