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Rapid Repair of Bridge Decks in Cold Weather
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    Using regular concrete or mortar to repair potholes in concrete bridge decks is typically infeasible in cold weather due to extended set and curing times. However, several commercially available rapid-set repair materials can be used at temperatures near or below freezing. This study evaluated five such materials to assess their properties and determine which are most suited to executing pothole repairs in cold weather. For each material, laboratory testing evaluated set times, compressive strength gains, and bond strength to existing concrete at three temperatures: 35°F, 15°F, and 0°F (1.7°C, -9.4°C, and -17.8°C, respectively). Testing identified Phoscrete as the repair material best suited to cold weather partial-depth deck patching. It consistently had the highest compressive strength (more than 2,500 psi within three hours at all three test temperatures), while its bond strength with existing concrete was adequate (between 250 psi and 760 psi at 28 days). Phoscrete, aided by its fast-set accelerant, set up within 40 minutes at all three test temperatures. Subsequent field testing evaluated the use of Phoscrete to repair a pothole on the deck of the US 27 Bridge over the Kentucky River (040B00028L). As expected, the material set up rapidly and the lane was reopened to traffic within two hours. Maintenance personnel found the low workability of Phoscrete, compared to a typical cement-based repair mortar, to be an issue. Before maintenance crews repair bridge decks in the field using Phoscrete they should perform a trial pothole repair in order to ensure their familiarity with Phoscrete’s workability. Field inspections conducted one year after the US 27 Bridge was mended found no distress on the Phoscrete-repaired patch.
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