Evaluation of Crack Free Bridge Decks

The South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT) submitted a successful application for funding as part of the TEA-21 Innovative Bridge, Research and Construction Program (IBRC). This research is designed to evaluate the proposed draft specifications for low-cracking high-performance concrete (LC-HPC) for bridge decks, being developed as part of Pooled Fund TPF-5(051), Construction of Crack-Free Concrete Bridge Decks. This research is designed to reduce shrinkage cracking that occurs in bridge decks as the concrete cures by using a mix design that has less cement paste, dense graded aggregate, and increased air content. Extended moist curing and stringent control of evaporation during placement are also used to reduce cracking. Two pairs of new bridges have been selected for the research. One bridge in each pair will be built using the LC-HPC specification and the other will use existing specifications. The research bridges have the following design details: (1) two single-span composite steel girder bridge, 208' x 40' roadway (structure numbers 52-435-289 and 52-435-288) as part of project IM90-2(134)59 PCN 4259, I-90 over East North Street in Pennington County; (2) two three-span composite prestressed concrete girder bridges, both 173.35' x 40' roadway, (structure numbers 08-230-130 and 08-230-131) as part of IM-90-6(37)281 PCN 1245, I-90 over a county road in Brule County. The intent is to use low alkali Type I/II Portland cement with lower cement content and dense graded aggregate to achieve a compressive strength equal to conventional bridge deck concrete with fly ash and higher cement content. Bridge decks on both steel and prestressed concrete girders will be included in the research. This will be in conjunction with optimized gradation concrete for the decks. It may be necessary to mitigate for ASR susceptible aggregates as some aggregates in South Dakota are known to be alkali-silica reactive (ASR). The reduced cement content mixes should have less shrinkage which should result in fewer cracks and increased protection for reinforcing steel from deicing chemicals. All the recommended procedures in the draft specifications for controlling concrete temperatures, slump, protection from evaporation and rapid water loss and curing will be adhered to. Surface texture will be cut into the hardened concrete on all decks after the curing period is over. Appropriate data will be collected to support Pooled Fund TPF-5(051) Construction of Crack-Free Concrete Bridge Decks. The objectives of this research project are to (1)  Evaluate the constructability of the bridge decks with proposed Low-Cracking High Performance Concrete material and construction specifications proposed by Pooled Fund project TPF-5(051) as implemented by SDDOT special provisions. (2) Evaluate the performance of the bridge decks with respect to crack width and frequency. (3) Evaluate the suitability of the draft Pooled Fund material and construction specifications for construction of crack-free bridge decks in South Dakota.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    South Dakota Department of Transportation

    Transportation Building, 700 E Broadway
    Pierre, SD  United States  57501
  • Project Managers:

    Johnston, Dan

    Foster, John

  • Performing Organizations:

    South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

    500 East St Joseph Street
    Rapid City, SD  United States  57701

    South Dakota State University, Brookings

    Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
    Brookings, SD  United States  57007
  • Principal Investigators:

    Wehbe, Nadim

    Patnaik, Anil

  • Start Date: 20050715
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20100630
  • Source Data: RiP Project 12586

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01462860
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: South Dakota Department of Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: SD2005-11
  • Files: RiP, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 2:11PM