Research notes : forensic analysis of a bridge.
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Research notes : forensic analysis of a bridge.

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  • Alternative Title:
    Forensic analysis of a bridge.
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  • Abstract:
    Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) had battled corrosion problems with this reinforced concrete structure since 1967, only twelve years after its construction. First, the steel rocker assemblies corroded. Soon, corroding steel reinforcement caused the concrete to crack and spall. In 1969, damaged concrete was removed, the steel reinforcement was sandblasted and primed with epoxy and zinc coatings, and the concrete was patched and sealed. Unfortunately, the problems continued through the 70s and 80s. By 1991, ODOT determined that the bridge should be replaced.

    The Rocky Point Viaduct is in a highly corrosive environment compared to other locations at the Oregon coast and inland. Analysis of the chloride distribution indicated that the concrete mix design and amount of concrete covering the steel reinforcement allowed the chloride concentration to reach corrosion threshold levels at some locations of the steel reinforcement in about 10 years. Considering that concrete typically cracks in 2 to 5 years after corrosion initiates, the damage observed after 15 years agreed closely with a scenario of chloride-induced corrosion.

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