Validation of Polyester Concrete Rehabilitation Strategy to Extend the Service Life of Concrete Bridge Decks

Currently, the standard service life of a highway bridge deck is considered to be 40 years or less, while the standard design life for a highway bridge is 75 years. Deck replacement options, particularly for post-tensioned box girders commonly used in California, have been difficult, unreliable and expensive. Preserving decks in good condition for as long as possible by applying timely and sound rehabilitation strategies will provide the extended service life needed in a bridge decks making deck replacement unnecessary. Deck rehabilitation strategies utilized in California to extend the life of the deck range from applying High Molecular Weight Methacrylate (HMWM) to fill deck cracks, to removal of the top several inches of deck concrete and recasting the partial deck section with portland cement concrete (PCC) or polyester concrete, or in some cases to placing a new deck constructed on top of the old deck. The research project, (65A0294 with Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University), investigated the long-term effectiveness of bridge deck preservative HMWM and Polyester Concrete overlay rehabilitation strategies. The Accelerated Bridge Deck Tester (ABDT) (one-of-a-kind testing equipment) was designed and constructed with the 65A0294 contract. The first contract was able to only test Methacrylate rehabilitation methods. The testing procedure takes months of lab/loading work. Polyester overlays remain to be tested. As millions of dollars are spent each year it is imperative the polyester method be tested to completion.