Service life determination of concrete bridge decks and bridge deck overlay systems

TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Tech


The highway network in the United States, specifically reinforced concrete bridges, is deteriorating at a rapid rate. It is known that chloride-induced corrosion of the reinforcing steel is one of the major causes of the deterioration of concrete bridge decks. Numerous bridge deck protection and overlay systems have been developed to reduce the deterioration rate caused by chloride-induced corrosion. This study investigated the service life of untreated concrete bridge decks and four bridge deck overlay systems: low-slump-dense concrete (LSDC), latex-modified concrete (LMC), micro-silica concrete (MSC), and preformed membranes with hot-mix asphalt overlays (PM-HMA).

The research plan consisted of organizing and analyzing data obtained in a 1991 field survey of 52 bridges from various locations in the nation. The field survey was conducted to gather information on existing conditions of untreated and rehabilitated bridge decks. Corrosion measurements were taken to assess the performance of each technique. Statistical models that predict the percent of deterioration on a bridge deck and the corrosion rate for each technique were developed from the field survey data. The components of a deterioration model were combined to define the service life for each bridge deck overlay system and for untreated concrete bridge decks. Other service life estimates for untreated bridge decks and bridge deck overlay systems were also compared.

Based on the statistical analysis and service life comparisons, a service life estimate was recommended for predicting the service life for three of the bridge deck overlay systems.