Construction of Crack-Free Concrete Bridge

Cracks in concrete bridge decks provide easy access for water and deicing chemicals (chlorides) that shorten the life of the deck due to freeze-thaw damage and corrosion of reinforcing steel. Measurements show that high quality concrete can significantly slow the penetration of chlorides to the level of the reinforcing steel. In contrast, measurements taken at cracks show that the chloride content of the concrete can exceed the corrosion threshold at the level of the reinforcing steel by the end of the first winter. An ongoing two-phase Pooled-Fund study at Kansas University (KU), anchored by the Kansas Department of Transportation, is aimed at reducing cracking in concrete bridge decks using better design, construction, and material specifications. The purpose of the study is to work with participating states, Transportation Research Institute (TRI), and industrial partners to use new materials and modified construction techniques to construct crack-free bridge decks.