About the research
Preservation of bridge decks has historically been achieved through varying types of concrete overlays, asphalt concrete overlays, miscellaneous asphalt overlays, polymer overlays, deck replacement, deck sealers, or crack repairs. The selection of the appropriate maintenance technique varies widely, as does the timing of implementation. These methods are of critical importance in cold weather climates, such as Wisconsin, due to the regular use of deicing chemicals and their associated detrimental effect on deck reinforcement. Determining the optimum method and corresponding timing of installation, through cost-benefit analyses of the resulting service life, is thus an important criterion to define.
The main objective of this research project is to develop a cost-effective lifecycle treatment plan for preservation of Wisconsin bridge decks. The research team will identify a comprehensive list of strategies through the review of current practice and DOT policies, provide data-driven estimates of performance of treatments and optimum timing with respect to condition and age analyzing historic bridge condition data from WisDOT and other state DOTs, and develop a lifecycle treatment plan based on the research finding and engineering economics principles. Another objective of the research is to validate current WisDOT practice and policies, which are consistent with the findings, and recommend necessary updates that will provide WisDOT with a cost-effective and long-term bridge preservation strategy.