The National Academies

NCHRP Synthesis 20-05/Topic 48-03 [Active (Synthesis)]

Corrosion Protection for Extending Steel Bridge Service Life
[ NCHRP 20-05 (Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $45,000
Authorization to Begin Work: 5/9/2016 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Crawford Jencks
Research Agency: Elzly Technology Corporation
Principal Investigator: Peter Ault
Effective Date: 9/29/2016
Fiscal Year: 2016

Final Scope

Corrosion is one of the most often-cited problems with steel bridges. The need for a synthesis study on this topic is immediate. Owners are replacing and / or maintaining a large number of bridges and building significant numbers of new bridges and transportation structures. Now is the time to choose material and coatings wisely and develop effective maintenance plans for implementation for newly constructed and in-service bridges and transportation structures.

Some of these approaches work better in different parts of the country; approaches that work well in northern states where deicing salts are a significant issue may not offer much benefit in coastal states where exposure to salt water and sea air are more of a concern. It is challenging to make the optimal choice among the right material, coating, and actions, while considering the local environment.

While there has been much research performed in each of these areas, it has generally been done in a somewhat isolated and uncoordinated fashion. There is no single comprehensive document that provides both qualitative and quantitative information on all these various approaches. This study will compile knowledge on the various strategies and collect lessons learned and effective practices presently in use, as well as any new innovative practices. The study will identify gaps in knowledge and needed research.

Information will be gathered by literature review and a survey of highway bridge owners, including the state DOTs (voting members of AASHTO Subcommittee on Bridges and Structures and Subcommittee on Maintenance), USACE, and other highway bridge owners. Topics to be studied include, but are not limited to, research and practice on the following:

1. Coatings / surface treatments:
   a. Paint coatings
   b. Galvanization
   c. Metallization
2. Materials:
   a. Weathering steel
   b. Stainless steel, including ASTM A1010
   c. Standard structural steel
3. Actions:
   a. Cleaning / washing
   b. Recoating
   c. Spot repairs of coating

For these topics, the survey will explore

1. Decision process for determining coatings and materials, including
   a. Costs
   b. Life cycle
   c. Environment
   d. Esthetics
2. Process for evaluation and maintenance actions
   a. Type of actions used
   b. Costs
   c. Frequency of implementation
3. Typical corrosion protection for new and in-service structures
4. Innovative practices
5. Perceived effectiveness, including what didn’t work out
6. Use of warranties
   a. Which type
   b. Length of warranty
   c. Amount of bond
7. Specifications
   a. Prescriptive
      i. Qualified products listing (State –based, NEPCOAT, or other) 
    b. Performance-based
8. Perceived research needs

Preliminary Information Sources:
• The National Bridge Preservation Partnership Coating Group is conducting a domestic scan on “Bridge Recoating Best Practices.” Several States and AASHTO Technical Committees are involved.
• TRB Standing Committee on Steel Bridges, AFF20
• TRB Standing Committee on General Structures, AFF10
• AASHTO SCOBS Technical Committee T-14, Structural Steel Design and T-9, Bridge Preservation
• NCHRP Project 10-97, Detection and Remediation of Soluble Salt Contamination Prior to Coating Steel Highway Structures.
• FHWA Technical Advisory 5140.22, Uncoated Weathering Steel in Structures
• Information from steel producers, (or other sources) on corrosion rates for exposed plates in varying environments both for situations where a protective patina thought to be adequate was achieved and was not achieved
• ArcelorMittal, United States Steel Corporation, Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal Corporation, Nucor Corporation, ThyssenKrupp AG and see http://www.worldsteel.org/statistics/top-producers.html for a complete list of worldwide steel producers
• ASTM G101-04 (2010), “Standard Guide for Estimating the Atmospheric Corrosion Resistance of Low-Alloy Steels,” ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA.
• Crampton, D. D., Holloway, K. P., & Frazek, J. (2013). Assessment of Weathering Steel Bridge Performance in Iowa and Development of Inspection and Maintenance Techniques (No. 5300C) (p. 144). Iowa Department of Transportation. Ames, IA.
• McConnell, J., Mertz, D., Shenton, H., Lee, S., and Roda, A. (2012). “Long-Term Bridge Performance (LTBP) Program: Evaluation of Unpainted Weathering Steel Highway Bridge Performance Phase I Report”, Center for Innovative Bridge Engineering, University of Delaware, Newark, DE.
• McDad, B., Laffrey, D.C., Dammann, M. and Medlock, R.D. (2000). “Performance of Weathering Steel in TxDOT Bridges,” Texas Department of Transportation, Project 0-1818.
• Raman, A. and Naszrazadani, S. (1989). “Corrosion Problems in Some Louisiana Bridges and Suggested Remedies,” Paper No. 165 Louisiana State University, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Baton Rouge, LA.
• Domestic Scan 15-03 (see Andy Lemer) 

TRB Staff

Crawford Jencks

Phone: 202-334-3245

Email: cjencks@nas.edu

Meeting Dates
First Panel:  August 31, 2016, Washington, DC
Teleconference with Consultant: September 28, 2016
Second Panel: May 23, 2017, Irvine, CA

Topic Panel
Caroline Rose Bennett, University of Kansas
Domenic A. Coletti, HDR Engineering
Steve C. Kahl, Michigan DOT
Ivan R. Lasa, Florida DOT
Norman L. McDonald, Iowa DOT
John C. Rogers, California DOT
Hormoz Seradj, Oregon DOT
Donald Becker, FHWA
Larry D. O'Donnell, Federal Highway Administration
James W. Bryant, Jr., Transportation Research Board

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