Guide to Remediate Bridge Deck Cracking

Cracking of concrete bridge decks is often reported as a problem by state DOTs for both new and existing bridges. There are many reasons for bridge cracking that can occur before or after concrete hardening. Cracks can occur before hardening due to construction movement (movement of form or sub-grade movement), chemical shrinkage (autogenous), high surface evaporation (plastic), and frost damage (premature freezing and scaling). After hardening cracks can occur due to volumetric movement (drying shrinkage, thermal contraction, and creep), structural design (design load and fatigue), and chemical reactions (alkali-aggregate reaction, freeze-thaw damage, and corrosion). While most of bridge deck cracks have little to no effect on immediate structural capacity, these cracks have significant effects on bridge deck durability as they often lead to deterioration of the bridge deck. As such, bridge deck cracking remediation is highly recommended especially in Northern states where cracks allow deicers to penetrate through the deck and corrode reinforcing steel. There are several options for bridge deck crack remediation with the most common options including crack injection, crack sealers (flood bridge deck sealers), thin polymer overlays, and thick overlays. Selection of the optimal technique relies on the properties of cracking conditions (crack widths, shape, and density) as well as exposure and bridge-specific conditions. Currently, while some industry guidance in terms of crack remediation strategies and their effectiveness to extend service life of cracked bridge decks exists, the information is scattered and a comprehensive guide to the available repair options, their suitability for different crack types, their service life benefits, and their costs does not. This study aims to develop a decision matrix and guidelines to aid in selection of optimal bridge deck cracking remediation options for Iowa DOT bridges based on specific user inputs. The outcomes of the study will include a final report that summarizes the findings and proposed changes to the Bridge Deck Manual and Construction Manual. In addition, WJE will develop training materials and deliver a webinar-based training to familiarize the primary users with the developed decision matrix and guidelines.


    • English


    • Status: Active
    • Funding: $ 175,000.00
    • Contract Numbers:


    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Iowa Department of Transportation

      800 Lincoln Way
      Ames, IA  United States  50010
    • Managing Organizations:

      Iowa Department of Transportation

      800 Lincoln Way
      Ames, IA  United States  50010
    • Project Managers:

      Goetz, Vanessa

    • Performing Organizations:

      Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Incorporated

      330 Pfingsten Road
      Northbrook, IL  United States  60062
    • Principal Investigators:

      ElBatanouny, Mohamed

    • Start Date: 20200501
    • Expected Completion Date: 20211215
    • Actual Completion Date: 0

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01744692
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: Iowa Department of Transportation
    • Contract Numbers: TR-782
    • Files: RIP, STATEDOT
    • Created Date: Jul 7 2020 8:38AM