It’s once again approaching the time of year when winter maintenance will be necessary to keep our roadways and bridges open to the traveling public. The necessity of de-icing agents to keep the roadways and bridges clear of ice and snow will slowly deteriorate your concrete bridge decks. But there is still time to do some basic preventative maintenance before the first winter storm of the season arrives.
Have you sealed your concrete bridge deck with an approved PennDOT deck sealer?
One of the largest causes of concrete deck deterioration is chloride penetration from de-icing agents used to keep bridges clear of ice during the winter months. The chlorides seep into the micro and hairline cracks across the deck surface, penetrating deeper into the concrete to the deck reinforcement where corrosion of the steel and concrete deterioration develops. Over time the deterioration reduces the concrete and rebar strengths, develops spalls on the concrete deck surface, and ultimately causes the failure of the bridge deck.
PennDOT Bulletin 15 approved sealers include: MaterProtect H 400, MasterProtect H 1000, Baracade WB 244, and Vexcon Powerseal 40 Penetrating Sealer.
What is a penetrating sealer?
Penetrating concrete sealers are chemicals (water repellent agents) that are applied by spraying to the concrete surface. They penetrate the concrete and micro and hairline cracks to provide a protective barrier on the bridge deck surface. Studies show that concrete sealers significantly slow the ingress of chloride ions into the concrete decks. A protected deck will last longer than an unprotected deck. Decks should be treated every 3-4 years for the best results. Some sealers may work better than others and I recommend you do a little research to satisfy your requirements, but any sealer is better than none.
If you would like further information
call me Kurt Brungard, PE, CBSI Director of Bridge Inspection & Maintenance, directly at 570-651-1529 anytime at our LDG headquarters in Williamsport, PA.