Modern Low Cost Maintenance of Concrete Bridges Using Effective NDT Test Data

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, as of December 2008, of the 600,905 bridges 72,868 (12.1%) were categorized as structurally deficient (SD) and 89,024 (14.8%) were categorized as functionally obsolete (FO). Despite a healthy economy during the period 1999- 2005, the numbers of SD and FO bridges were on the rise. It is very clear that bridge evaluation and maintenance policies are not working efficiently. The high numbers of SD and FO bridges should not be allowed to continue to rise. Given the current state of the US economy, smarter bridge management policies should be adopted, as we cannot afford the high cost of proper maintenance of our huge transportation civil infrastructure. Regardless of age and condition, current practice requires bi-annual inspection of highway bridges, which results in costly inspection caused by unnecessary frequent inspections of newer bridges and lack of frequent inspection of older bridges. There is a need for a more rational approach for setting bridge inspection frequency based on safety, condition, design, age of the structure, and engineering judgment. In addition, there should be a clearer differentiation between maintenance and repair. The cost of major repairs is much higher than timely preventive maintenance measures. There are many cases where minor maintenance activity is delayed until it becomes a structural deficiency, which resulted in high number of bridges categorized as structurally deficient. Practical experience coupled with non-destructive test (NDT) data produce good assessment of bridge condition. The question is how to utilize NDT data to develop a cost-effective maintenance policy for bridges. NDT data should not only be used for assessing current condition of bridges, but also to predict its deterioration rate and its future maintenance needs. NDT data of the likelihood of corrosion in a bridge component is a very good indication of its future deterioration rate in the following few years. If implemented, low cost maintenance measures would stop or slow the deterioration rate resulting in lower maintenance cost over the service life of the bridge. This paper will present smart use of NDT data to predict the near future service life of concrete bridge components, and its utilization for cost-effective maintenance policy, in a limited financial resources environment. The impact of this study will enhance the following: (1) development of a better rational for setting maintenance frequency based on condition, (2) development of low-cost maintenance measures for better control of deterioration rate, (3) understanding of financial consequences of delayed maintenance, and (4) reduction of the number of structurally deficient bridges.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $4645.00
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    University Transportation Centers Program
    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    University Transportation Research Center

    City College of New York
    Marshak Hall, Suite 910, 160 Convent Avenue
    New York, NY  United States  10031
  • Project Managers:

    Mooney, Deborah

    Thorson, Ellen

  • Performing Organizations:

    Syracuse University

    Institution of Transportation and Traffic Engineering
    Syracuse, NY  United States  13244-2130
  • Principal Investigators:

    Aboutaha, Riyad

  • Start Date: 20110701
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20120930
  • Source Data: RiP Project 28672

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01467916
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: University Transportation Research Center
  • Contract Numbers: 49111-10-23
  • Files: UTC, RIP, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 3:41PM