Scan 15-03: Successful Preservation Practices for Steel Bridge Coatings

Coatings provide the primary corrosion protection system for steel highway bridges. Currently, there are approximately 610,000 highway bridges in the U.S., of which about 180,000 are constructed from steel. Although steel bridges are still being built, the majority of steel bridges were constructed between 1920 and 1970. In recent years, the construction of new highway mileage has slowed and the use of concrete for construction of new bridges has increased. These factors indicate that the primary issues regarding steel bridge coatings lie with maintenance of the many existing—and aging—inventory of steel bridges. The median age of the existing inventory now exceeds 40 years, and a large percentage of coating systems protecting steel bridges have met or exceeded their useful service lives. There is currently an increasing demand for maintenance and replacement of coating systems on steel bridge structures.

Download Scan 15-03-Rev 2.1 (.pdf)

Residual Dye (Lubricant) on Galvanized Fasteners – How Much Is Too Much?

The nuts of galvanized fasteners used on bridges are coated with a wax-based lubricant that contains a dye. Once installed, the fasteners are cleaned to remove the wax prior to painting. Cleaning is typically accomplished using a combination of solvents and hand tools, but questions are often raised as to how much residual dye on the surface is acceptable for painting. To gain better insight into this issue, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) commissioned a research project to evaluate the performance of a bridge paint system applied to mechanically galvanized and hot dip galvanized fasteners after removal of various amounts of lubricant. This paper summarizes the research that was undertaken and the results.

Download the FDOT Bolt Lube Study Final Report (.pdf)

Methodology for Analysis of
Soluble Salts from Steel Substrates

The FHWA has documented the results of a laboratory study of a methodology for extraction and analysis of soluble salts from steel substrates.  Unfortunately, coatings applied to surfaces contaminated with excessive amounts of adverse soluble salts do not provide their expected service life. Steel meant to be used without a protective coating, such as weathering steel and stainless steel, can also suffer from corrosion damage caused by high concentrations of soluble salts under corrosive conditions.

The FHWA’s Summary Report may be downloaded as a (.pdf) file at:

Download the Summary Report (.pdf)

Field Methods for Determining Lead Content in Bridge Paint Removal Waste

The New York State Department of Transportation has sponsored a study to develop field methods for determining lead content in bridge paint removal waste.  The study’s final report was published in December 2013 and may be downloaded as a (.pdf) file at:

Download the Final Report (.pdf)

Benefits of Transitioning from Traditional Maintenance Management to Life-Cycle Asset Management

Asset Works has published a short paper describing the benefits of replacing traditional maintenance with Life-Cycle Asset Management.

Download the Paper (.pdf)

Primary Element – Bridge Inspection Continues to Evolve in U.S.

With more than 600,000 bridges in the U.S., many of them closing in on or surpassing their original 50-year design lives, the need to ensure safety is at the forefront of concern in the bridge industry.

The May 2013 edition of “Roads & Bridges” has published an article on the evolution of and need for Element Level Bridge Inspection.

Download and Read the Full Article.

SHRP 2 Tools and MAP-21 Policy Goals

SHRP 2 has assembled tools and resources that can assist agencies to meet their project and policy goals, including MAP-21 goals.  The FHWA and AASHTO are initiating the SHRP 2 Solutions Implementation Program.  Visit the three web pages:

Research Roadmap

The TSP Research, Development, and Implementation Roadmap published in January 2008, included 38 R&D problem statements related to pavements and 25 related to bridges. Since 2008, some of the identified research has been completed and other needs identified.

AASHTO has contracted with the NCPP to revise the Roadmap by:

  • Identifying and documenting completed and ongoing R & D projects,
  • Identifying gaps in the 2008 Roadmap, and
  • Developing and maintaining an online database capable of being updated by its users.

The project was initiated in November 2012 and is expected to be complete in three years.

Bridge Preservation Search Engine and Research News

Use the new page specifically designed for bridge preservation searches and for up to date information on research HERE.

Literature Review of Chloride Threshold Values for Grouted Post-Tensioned Tendons
This document describes the outcomes of a literature review conducted by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to support an ongoing laboratory study on corrosion of grouted post-tensioned (PT) bridges that are affected by chloride-contaminated grouts.

Download the Summary Report (.pdf)

TRB 2013 Steel Bridge Coating Technical Session
S-K Lee, Chair of the Steel Bridge Coating Subcommittee (AHD30(2)), has announced a two-part technical session to be held by AHD30(2) at TRB 2013. The session’s technical abstract is:
“Various types of coating systems for steel bridges play the most important role in protecting steel from corrosion. However, there are many challenges to apply the coatings properly and maintain them at right times during the service life of the structures. A 4-hour technical session consisted of two equally divided parts will address various topics pertaining to the new steel bridges (Part 1) and maintenance coatings for the existing steel bridges (Part 2). The presentation topics include the latest state of practices related to coating application and maintenance, newly emerging high performance coating systems, non-destructive diagnostic tools, performance monitoring methodologies, and coating preservation strategies.”

Further information is available from S-K Lee at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

The TSP Research Roadmap
The FHWA in partnership with the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the preservation industry, have sponsored a study to delineate the most critical knowledge gaps in pavement and bridge preservation and the research which is necessary to fill those gaps. This Transportation System Preservation (TSP) Research, Development, and Implementation Roadmap is the output of that partnership effort, and was compiled via input received during three (3) regional workshops conducted in 2007.Working together with preservation practitioners from State, Provincial, and local transportation agencies; industry, academia, and the FHWA; this effort has resulted in the development of a broad array of pavement and bridge preservation research needs statements which comprise the “TSP Research Roadmap,” now available for download below.

[ Note: For detailed research needs statements, please refer to the Roadmap report appendices. ]

The TSP Research Roadmap – January 2008

Other Preservation Research Roadmaps
Presented below for informational and comparison purposes, are proposed preservation research activities that have been developed and submitted by other preservation task groups. To submit your preservation roadmap or list of problem statements, please contact the TSP2 site administrator. Please submit research matrices in MS Word and/or Adobe PDF format.

NCHRP Synthesis of Truck Size and Weight Research
NCHRP 20-07, Task 303 has developed a “Directory of Significant Truck Size and Weight Research” to provide a brief, well organized summary of significant research related to large truck size and weight for use by decision-makers. Access the Directory.

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