Long-Term Corrosion Impacts from Highway Snow and Ice Control Chemicals

Several different types of snow and ice control chemicals are available for the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) maintenance to use to improve safety of roads under winter conditions. While the short-term operational costs (i.e. labor, equipment, materials costs) of using different chemicals (i.e. salt, corrosion-inhibited magnesium chloride) are fairly easy to identify, there is a lack of information regarding the long-term costs of corrosion from chemical use. Corrosion impacts to motor vehicles, bridge structures, and steel rebar in pavements and bridge decks are of particular concern. The objectives of this research are to evaluate the effect of chloride-based deicers on reinforced concrete structures (roadways and bridges) and to determine whether or not reducing deicer corrosiveness helps to preserve the transportation infrastructure. A pressure penetration test will be used to investigate the deicer inhibitor effect on the corrosion resistance of steel rebar (or dowel bars) in concrete structures.