Development, Field Testing, and Implementation of Improved Bridge Parapet Designs

A previous research project carried out by Cleveland State University investigated the occurrence of wide-spread premature cracking of bridge concrete parapets on relatively recently constructed bridge decks. The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) District 12 had identified 27 bridges exhibiting premature cracking of bridge concrete parapets to varying degrees. Bridge concrete parapets can be replaced without bridge deck replacement, and the decks on which these problem parapets were poured appeared to be performing as anticipated. A cursory review of District 12 parapets showed little correlation between deck characteristics; some were on short spans, while others were on longer spans and/or skews. Also, multiple contractors and concrete suppliers were involved. The District did replace one cracked parapet (without replacing the deck) and the cost was about $140,000. Cracked parapets are a safety concern and the potential cost to the Department to remove and replace parapets could be significant. The overall objective of the study was to determine the reasons for uncontrolled bridge deck parapet cracking, and to provide recommendations to ODOT to prevent such cracking in the future. This previous project identified the most likely causes of premature bridge parapet cracking. On the basis of the previous work, ODOT District 12 has decided to investigate some of the alternatives suggested by the research by conducting field tests on construction projects. This project would seek to develop improved parapet designs to mitigate cracking, and monitor test sites constructed in the field during the summer of 2013 and/or 2014. This proposed research relates to ODOT's mission of "Take care of what we have." It directly addresses the Strategic Focus Research Area of Transportation Asset Management. This represents an example of "Developing methods to better utilize resources and integrate advances in science, technology, and construction techniques." It will also enhance Transportation Safety because deteriorated parapet material could potentially represent a risk to the traveling public. The significance of this work is that uncontrolled concrete bridge parapet cracking has cost ODOT significant expenditures, and this trend is expected to continue in the future unless a solution can be found. Bridge deck parapets are replaced when it is necessary to replace the bridge deck itself as they sit on top of the deck and are constructed after the deck. District 12 had to replace the parapet on a bridge over I-271 in 2002 at a cost of $139,705.75 which did not include sealing, fence and expansion joint repairs. So, if the parapet were to need replaced prior to the deck, that cost is wasted when the deck is ultimately replaced. Overall, the project is likely to result in higher durability, longer service life, reduced life cycle cost, and reduced disruption to the traveling public.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Contract Numbers:



  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Ohio Department of Transportation

    Research Program
    1980 West Broad Street
    Columbus, OH  United States  43223
  • Project Managers:


  • Performing Organizations:

    Cleveland State University

    2121 Euclid Avenue
    Cleveland, OH  United States  44115
  • Principal Investigators:

    Delatte, Norbert

  • Start Date: 20130813
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20150331
  • Source Data: RiP Project 35168

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01557904
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Ohio Department of Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: 25969, 134818
  • Files: RiP, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: Mar 27 2015 1:00AM