Application of Internal Curing to Improve Concrete Bridge Deck Performance

Due to the relatively high cement content and low water-to-cement ratio (w/c) used, bridge deck concrete is more prone to early age cracking. As shown in Figure 1 bridge deck cracking and deterioration, coupled with the application of deicing chemicals during winter operations have been a primary concern. Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) has employed mitigating reactionary strategies such as crack sealing and overlay to address early age deck cracking. However, these strategies are costly and have impacts on traffic operations. NDOT would clearly benefit if concrete decks are free from premature cracking associated with initial construction. The overall goal of this study is to identify a cost-effective practice for internal curing of bridge deck concrete for NDOT. To achieve the goal, three specific objectives of this study are to: (1) summarize the best practice of internal curing concrete for bridge deck application through an extensive literature review and survey; (2) determine appropriate source and addition rate of LWFA for internal curing of Nebraska concrete bridge decks; and (3) evaluate the technical feasibility and benefits of internal curing for Nebraska bridge deck construction.