Many bridges in the state of Indiana have been identified to have cracking in the concrete deck. Cracking has been identified in the negative and positive moment regions of bridges on both the top and bottom surfaces and can appear before or shortly after the opening of the structure to live loads. Significant crack widths and various degrees of cracking exist in different bridge systems including both concrete and steel superstructures. This research project was divided into five phases to determine the factors affecting transverse and longitudinal bridge deck cracking, as well as, to develop design recommendations that minimize or prevent these types of bridge deck cracking. The research focused on the design and construction of new bridge decks. However, an overview of overlay cracking is also presented. The first phase was a field evaluation to investigate the scope of the problem. Using the information gathered from the first phase, the second phase instrumented a typical bridge structure to provide an understanding of the behavior of transverse cracks in a concrete bridge deck. With the findings from the previous two phases, the third phase conducted a laboratory investigation to study the effects of shrinkage and restraint of a concrete deck and to determine the contribution of stay-in-place steel forms to the formation of transverse cracking. The fourth phase evaluated the effect of formwork type on restrained shrinkage. In the final phase, the effect of reinforcing bar spacings and epoxy thickness on crack width and spacings were evaluated. Based on the research investigation, transverse deck cracking is caused by restrained shrinkage of the concrete deck while longitudinal cracking is caused by a combination of factors including restrained shrinkage and a construction detail that turns the leg of an angle used to support stay-in-place formwork into the deck. Design and construction recommendations are provided to minimize transverse, longitudinal, and overlay map cracking.

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bridge deck, transverse cracking, longitudinal cracking, overlay cracking, bridge decks, restrained shrinkage, shrinkage, restraint, restrained shrinkage, shrinkage and temperature reinforcement, SPR-2404

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Performing Organization

Joint Transportation Research Program

Publisher Place

West Lafayette, IN

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