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Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Research > CORROSION PROTECTION - CONCRETE BRIDGES

Publication Number: FHWA-RD-98-088
Date: September 1998


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The Federal Highway Administration recognized the problem of premature corrosion of reinforced concrete bridges in the early 1970's and established corrosion protection as one of its high-priority areas (HPA's) for research.

This report summarizes the research performed over the last 15 to 25 years of developing various cost-effective corrosion protection systems for both new structures and rehabilitating existing salt-contaminated, reinforced and prestressed concrete bridges.

Other forthcoming reports from Structures HPA's are: Geotechnical Engineering; Hydraulics/Scour; Seismic Protection; Corrosion Protection-Steel Bridges, and Timber Bridges.

This report will be of interest to owners, bridge engineers, consultants, and designers of reinforced and prestressed concrete bridges who are involved in the design, construction, maintenance, and rehabilitation of these structures.



Charles J. Nemmers
Director, Office of Engineering
Research and Development


This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The United States Government assumes no liability for its contents or use thereof. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation.

The United States Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade of manufacturers' names appear herein only because they are considered essential to the object of this document.

Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No.


2. Government Accession No. 3. Recipient's Catalog No.
4. Title and Subtitle


5. Report Date

September 1998

6. Performing Organization Code
7. Author(s)

Y. Paul Virmani and Gerardo G. Clemena*

8. Performing Organization Report No.
9. Performing Organization Name and Address

Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center
6300 Georgetown Pike
McLean, Virginia 22102 - 2296

10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)
11. Contract or Grant No.
12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

Office of Engineering Research and Development
Federal Highway Administration
6300 Georgetown Pike
McLean, Virginia 22102 -2296

13. Type of Report and Period Covered

Final Report

14. Sponsoring Agency Code
15. Supplementary Notes

* Virginia Transportation Research Council
530 Edgemont Road
Charlottesville, Virginia 22903

16. Abstract

Premature corrosion of reinforcing steel has caused many concrete bridges in the United States to deteriorate before their design life was attained. Recognizing the burden that reinforcing steel corrosion imposes on natural resources, the Federal Highway Administration established Corrosion Protection for Concrete Bridges as one of the high-priority areas (HPAs) in its Structures Research Program. This HPA had two main objectives: (1) To develop effective and economical methodologies for arresting or reducing the extent of steel corrosion due to chloride-contamination of concrete bridges, thereby reducing maintenance costs of existing concrete bridges and minimizing interruption to traffic and, (2) To develop sound design and construction practices and materials for preventing corrosion of reinforcement in new structures, hence minimizing future deterioration. To meet these objectives, several research programs were developed and pursued in this HPA. This report summarizes the progress made through research efforts conducted under these programs.

Other reports will summarize progress from Structures High-Priority Programs for: Geotechnical Engineering; Hydraulics/Scour; Seismic Protection; Corrosion Protection - Steel Bridges; and Timber Bridges.


17. Key Words

Steel corrosion in concrete, chloride ions, reinforced concrete, prestressed concrete, epoxy-coated rebars, alternative rebars, corrosion inhibitors, cathodic protection, electrochemical chloride extraction, grouting, inspection of concrete.

18. Distribution Statement

No restrictions. This document is available to the public through the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, Virginia 22161.

19. Security Classif. (of this report)


20. Security Classif. (of this page)


21. No. of Pages


22. Price

Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72)

Reproduction of this page authorized

SI* (Modern Metric) Conversion Factors

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Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center | 6300 Georgetown Pike | McLean, VA | 22101