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Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Focus > January 1998 >Taking Care of Bridges
January 1998Publication Number: FHWA-SA-98-018

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Lead States Team for Assessment, Protection, and Rehabilitation of Reinforced Concrete Structures

Taking Care of Bridges

Assessing the condition of concrete bridges and planning a repair and rehabilitation strategy is a complex task, but one made easier by several of the innovative technologies developed or evaluated under the Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP). Encouraging States to use these technologies is the job of the Lead States team for assessment, protection, and rehabilitation of reinforced concrete structures.

The team is composed of bridge engineers from Florida, Missouri, and Virginia-States who took the lead in promoting the new SHRP technologies. The engineers were selected because of their experience and expertise in several key technologies for bridge assessment and repair, including cathodic protection and electrochemical chloride extraction. The team also has considerable experience with rapid repair techniques for bridge decks. "This is one of the most promising technologies to come out of SHRP," says Michael Sprinkel of the Virginia Transportation Research Council, head of the Lead States team.

The Lead States team has a daunting task: to encourage more widespread adoption of 24 highly diverse technologies developed or evaluated under SHRP (see below). These technologies range from quick methods for taking and testing samples from concrete bridges to cutting-edge nondestructive evaluation technologies for bridge decks. "The team has more products than it has people, and many of these products don't have much in common with each other," says Sprinkel.

The Lead States team is currently assessing the results of a questionnaire sent recently to State highway agencies, asking about their experiences with the SHRP bridge assessment and rehabilitation technologies. The results of the survey will help the team to determine which SHRP products States need assistance in implementing. Highway agency and industry staff with information on how SHRP products are being used are encouraged to contact Sprinkel.

The team is also developing summary reports on the status of the 24 SHRP products. "The reports will help us determine if we need to promote the product better, refine the product, or drop the product from implementation status and possibly recommend more research," says Sprinkel.

For more information, or to provide the team with information on how you are using the SHRP concrete products, contact Michael Sprinkel (phone: 804-293-1941; fax: 804-293-1990; email: mms2c@virginia.edu).

SHRP Concrete Bridge Products

The Lead States Team for assessment, protection, and rehabilitation of reinforced concrete structures covers the following SHRP products:

Diagnostic Tools for Concrete Bridge Assessment

  • Technique for detecting flaws using the impact-echo device.
  • Impact frequency concrete soundness test.
  • Measuring the corrosion rate of reinforced concrete using polarization resistance.
  • Measuring the corrosion rate of reinforced concrete using the spectroscopic corrosion rate meter.
  • Evaluating asphalt-covered bridge decks using ground-penetrating radar.
  • Nondestructive bridge deck membrane integrity test method.
  • Rapid chloride content test method.
  • Condition Evaluation of Concrete Bridges Relative to Reinforcement Corrosion, Volumes 1-8 (Publication No. SHRP-S-331).

Concrete Permeability Tests

  • Laboratory concrete permeability test method.
  • AC impedance test for permeability.
  • Surface air-flow permeability device.

Concrete Sealer Tests

  • Electrical resistance test.
  • Absorption test.

Electrochemical Concrete Bridge Protection and Rehabilitation Techniques

  • Chloride Removal Implementation Guide (Publication No. SHRP-S-347).
  • Cathodic Protection of Concrete Bridges: A Manual of Practice (Publication No. SHRP-S-372).
  • Control Criteria and Materials Performance Studies for Cathodic Protection of Reinforced Concrete (Publication No. SHRP-S-670).

Concrete Bridge Protection and Rehabilitation Techniques (Other than Electrochemical)

  • Techniques for Concrete Removal and Bar Cleaning on Bridge Rehabilitation Projects (Publication No. SHRP-S-336).
  • Concrete Bridge Protection and Rehabilitation: Chemical and Physical Techniques-Rapid Concrete Bridge Deck Protection, Repair and Rehabilitation (Publication No. SHRP-S-344).
  • Task Force 34-Guide Specifications for Polymer Concrete Bridge Deck Overlays (C97-TF-34) (The specification is the result of research conducted under SHRP.)
  • Concrete Bridge Protection, Repair, and Rehabilitation Relative to Reinforcement Corrosion: A Methods Application Manual (Publication No. SHRP-S-360).
  • Life-Cycle Cost Analysis for Protection and Rehabilitation of Concrete Bridges Relative to Reinforcement Corrosion (Publication No. SHRP-S-377).
  • Sprayed-Zinc Galvanic Anodes for Concrete Marine Bridge Substructures (Publication No. SHRP-S-405).

Concrete Performance

  • Concrete Microscopy (Publication No. SHRP-C-662)

Concrete Strength Tests

  • Test method for interfacial bond strength of concrete.

The SHRP reports mentioned above are available from the Transportation Research Board bookstore (phone: 202-334-3214; fax: 202-334-2519; Web: www2.nas.edu/trbbooks/SHRP1.html).

+Available from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (phone: 800-213-3475; fax: 800-525-5562).

Showcase Workshops Introduce SHRP Bridge Assessment and Repair Technologies

The Lead States team's work to encourage States to adopt innovative technologies for assessing and repairing portland cement concrete bridges is augmented by a series of showcase workshops offered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

The Methodology for Removal, Repair, Rehabilitation, and Protection of Concrete Structures and Physical Assessment of Reinforced Concrete Structures Showcase Workshops bring highway agency staff up to speed on the technologies evaluated or developed under SHRP for assessing and repairing steel-reinforced concrete structures.

The methodology session covers corrosion of the reinforcing steel in concrete and how to prevent or mitigate this corrosion. It also introduces ways to minimize cracking in new concrete and techniques for replacing deteriorated concrete.

The physical assessment session covers the causes of deterioration in steel-reinforced concrete bridges and ways to evaluate deteriorating bridges.

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

bridge photo.

Florida, a member of the Lead States team, is using cathodic protection technology on the Bryant Patton Bridges in Appalachicola.

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Updated: 04/07/2011

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