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Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Focus > August 1997 > Workshops Introduce Latest Ways To Keep Concrete Bridges Sound
August 1997Publication Number: FHWA-SA-97-026

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Workshops Introduce Latest Ways To Keep Concrete Bridges Sound

Highway agencies can make the $1.1 billion they spend every year on bridge repair and rehabilitation go further by using the bridge evaluation, repair, and protection techniques evaluated or developed under the Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP). To bring highway agency staff up to speed on these techniques, FHWA is holding a series of Methodology for Removal, Repair, Rehabilitation, and Protection of Concrete Structures and Physical Assessment of Reinforced Concrete Structures Showcase Workshops.

The focus of the workshop is evenly split between the physical assessment of steel-reinforced concrete structures and methods of repairing and protecting these structures. The workshop provides both classroom instruction and hands-on training.

The methodology session covers the relationship between bridge design and corrosion of the reinforcing steel in concrete bridges. It also presents techniques for protecting the reinforcing steel in concrete bridges, ways to minimize cracking in new concrete, and procedures for replacing deteriorated concrete.

The methodology workshop then compares several methods used to prevent, mitigate, or even stop corrosion of the reinforcing steel in existing bridges. Methods covered include sealers, concrete overlays, and cathodic protection. Attendees also learn how to determine which of these methods is most cost-effective for a particular bridge.

The physical assessment session covers the causes of deterioration in steel-reinforced concrete bridges, the advantages and disadvantages of methods of evaluating these bridges, and the latest repair and rehabilitation strategies.

The session also introduces several innovative ways to evaluate the condition of concrete bridges:

  • Chloride content tests
  • Field and laboratory tests for concrete permeability
  • Sealer effectiveness field tests
  • Tests for determining the rate of corrosion of reinforcing steel
  • Ground penetrating radar (see April 1997 Focus)
  • Nondestructive tests of the integrity of the chloride barrier membrane in bridge decks

Most of the equipment needed to run these tests is available for loan to highway agencies that have sent staff to the workshop.

The workshops have been held seven times so far and have been attended by more than 240 people. Workshops will next be held in South Dakota (September); Trenton, New Jersey (October); and Minnesota (November).

For more information, contact Donald Jackson at FHWA (phone: 202-366-6770; fax: 202-366-7909; email: donald.jackson@fhwa.dot.gov).

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Updated: 04/07/2011

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