Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Problems. Topic 47-01. Control of Cracking in Concrete Bridges

Despite many advances in bridge design, concrete technology, and corrosion-resistant reinforcement, cracking of concrete continues to be a concern for bridge owners; particularly for bridges exposed to severe environments. The presence of cracks provides a direct path for water and chlorides to penetrate the concrete and reach the reinforcement. This in turn, can lead to freeze-thaw damage to the concrete or corrosion of the reinforcement. However, there appears to be little or no correlation between crack width, corrosion, and service life. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials Load and Resistance Factor Design (AASHTO LRFD) Bridge Design Specifications provides requirements for minimum amounts of reinforcement and maximum spacing of reinforcement to control crack widths. In some cases, these requirements are based on in-depth research, while others are based on experience. Nevertheless, bridge owners find the need to supplement the AASHTO provisions with their own requirements. The control of cracking for aesthetic, durability, and structural reasons becomes increasingly important as service life goals are extended and higher strength concrete, higher strength reinforcement, and different types of reinforcement are used in bridge construction. The overall goal of the synthesis is to provide a compilation of methods used to control cracking in concrete bridges and the influence of cracking on long-term durability. Specifically, the synthesis will address the following types of cracking: (1) Flexural cracks in nonprestressed members; (2) Shrinkage cracks in nonprestressed concrete bridge decks; (3) Splitting cracks in pretensioned anchorage zones; (4) Vertical cracks in pretensioned beams prior to transfer of the prestressing force; and (5) Reflective cracking in cast-in-place partial-depth decks and overlays. The synthesis will include information related to the use of steel reinforcement with specified yield strengths from 60 to 100 ksi, corrosion-resistant steel reinforcement, and fiber-reinforced polymer reinforcement. The selection of concrete constituent materials and construction methods to reduce the potential for shrinkage cracking will be addressed. Finally, the synthesis will address remedial measures that may be taken after cracks occur. The synthesis will be beneficial to bridge owners and designers and the AASHTO Subcommittee on Bridges and Structures in their Grand Challenges to extend bridge service life and advance the AASHTO specifications.


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $45000.00
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-05, Topic

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW, Suite 225
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Project Managers:

    Williams, Jon

  • Start Date: 20150701
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 39637

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01562868
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-05, Topic
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: May 13 2015 1:00AM