Impact of Deck Cracking on Durability, Phase I (TR-405)

Project status


Start date: 04/15/97
End date: 04/14/98


Principal investigators:

About the research

Typically a new bridge is designed for a service life of 60-100 years, and ideally the deck should have the same life span. This situation, however, may not be attainable on many bridges due to the heavy use of de-icing chemicals. It is well known that cracks in concrete structures are an inevitable occurrence. These cracks can contribute to accelerated corrosion of reinforcing steel, deterioration and leaching of the concrete, damage to structural members and components beneath the deck, and appearance concerns.

Most of the published research efforts have been devoted to studying the cause of deck cracking and methods to minimize crack occurrence, and the performance of epoxy coated rebars in bridge decks rather than investigating the long term effect on the structure?s life. Therefore, the focus of this project is to investigate the impact of deck cracking on the durability of bridge decks. This project will include detailed field and laboratory research on several bridge decks across Iowa to help determine the condition of epoxy coated reinforcement and concrete at the location of cracks. In this research project, the relationship between deck condition and age will be thoroughly investigated. The ultimate objective of this work will be accomplished in two phases.

The objectives of Phase I of this project are: · Perform literature review · Collect and review relevant Iowa bridge deck inspection records · Assess current Iowa bridge deck conditions through: · Collection of several core samples of different bridge decks · Evaluation of deck conditions by field and laboratory procedures



  • Iowa Department of Transportation
  • Iowa Highway Research Board