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Reduction of Bridge Deck Cracking through Alternative Material Usage
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Reduction of Bridge Deck Cracking through Alternative Material Usage
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    Final Report
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    ODOT routinely deploys a large number of continuous span structural slab bridges. Despite being designed to strictly satisfy all the relevant AASHTO and ODOT BDM requirements, many such bridge decks show transverse cracks, with widths greater than those predicted using AASHTO 2012 and ACI 318-14 guidelines, after being in service for less than one year. The addition of polypropylene fiber to deck concrete has the potential to reduce such cracking. The overall goal of this project was to identify materials and methods to reduce the extent and severity of deck cracking for structural slab bridges and determine the effectiveness of fiber for this purpose. From the crack surveys of 30 bridges in various ODOT districts, sampled from the 63 bridges suggested from the bridge inventory, it was found that crack widths of transverse cracks were in excess of the recommended limit of 0.007″ on 26 of the surveyed bridges. Meeting the maximum crack width limit of 0.007″ for bridge decks reinforced with epoxy-coated bars is unrealistic and unachievable with current ODOT practices, and this limit may need to be reconsidered. The addition of fiber to deck concrete without any changes to the reinforcement details of continuous span structural slab bridges was determined to reduce the extent and the severity of cracking by a factor of about 3 to 4, making it plausible to reduce crack widths in future bridge decks. The beneficial effects of fiber primarily stem from the improved performance of the concrete with fiber under freeze-thaw and sustained loading as well as from the enhanced response of concrete to static and fatigue loading. The ease of placement, effective consolidation and acceptable finish achieved with concrete incorporating polypropylene fiber at a rate of 10 lb/yd3 in a pilot bridge in Medina County (Ohio) makes the proposed solution implementable by ODOT without any deviations from the current practices except for the addition of fiber to deck concrete.

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