Manual for Assessing the Service Life of Corrosion-Deteriorated Reinforced Concrete Members in Highway Bridges in West Virginia

Corrosion-induced deterioration of reinforced concrete bridge superstructure members is a common and costly problem in the United States. In a recent report to Congress, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reported that of the nation's 577,000 bridges 134,000 were classified as structurally deficient. According to the July 9, 2010 Bridge Data Book published by The West Virginia Department of Highways (WVDOH) 979 of the 6,789 bridges in West Virginia are classified as structurally deficient. Structurally deficient bridges are those that are closed, have a low load posting, or that require rehabilitation or replacement. Approximately 40 percent of the current backlog of highway bridge repair and rehabilitation costs is directly attributed to the corrosion of reinforced concrete bridge elements. WVDOH is not unique in that they use visual inspection as a valid technique to monitor the extent of cracking and damage for bridge members. This visual inspection technique would allow bridge inspectors and bridge engineers of old to determine the extent of the maintenance required for each bridge member. However, various techniques have been developed over the years to assess the condition of concrete bridge elements that will assist today's bridge engineers in making these decisions with more reliability. Therefore, there is an urgent need to identify or develop suitable procedures for assessing the condition of corrosion-deteriorated bridge members, estimating their expected remaining service life, and determining the effects of maintenance and repair options on their service life.