Bridges in the US are deteriorating at an alarming rate. It has been estimated that transportation agencies across the US invest more than 5 billion dollars on concrete bridge repair and renovation annually. To meet the needs of transportation industry, high performance concrete (HPC) has been developed for the construction of bridges. However, to date, the link between material properties and field performance is not completely established. Goodspeed et al. [1996] defined the performance of concrete using four material parameters that describe durability and four material parameters that describe mechanical properties. It should be noted however that material properties alone cannot entirely define field performance. Rather some consideration is needed to quantify the conditions to which the concrete will be exposed. The exposure conditions vary based on the geographical location. This work relates material properties with the exposure conditions typical of those in the state of Indiana to estimate the performance of concrete bridge decks.

The exposure conditions in the state of Indiana have been assessed. Specifically, temperature, rainfall, wetting events, freeze thaw cycles, and relative humidity have been classified. To assess the variation in these parameters across the state, contour maps were developed using information from cities in the state of Indiana as well as cities in surrounding states. The eight parameters suggested by Goodspeed et al. [1996] have been reviewed. Three key distresses behavior (chloride ingress, freezing and thawing, and shrinkage cracking) have been investigated in depth. Relationships have been developed to relate measured material properties (from the results of AASHTO/ASTM tests) with the predicted performance of the concrete structure under different exposure condition.

First, a model is presented that relates the results of Rapid Chloride Permeability Test (RCPT) with the anticipated service life of bridge deck against corrosion due to chloride ingress. Second, a model is presented that relates results of sorptivity, porosity, and critical saturation with the anticipated service life of concrete exposed to freezing and thawing. Third, a model is presented that relates the shrinkage of concrete with the potential for premature cracking. The results of each of the models have been presented for conditions that are typical of the state of Indiana.

Report Number



bridge deck, concrete, cracking, early-age, performance specification., SPR-2941

SPR Number


Performing Organization

Joint Transportation Research Program

Date of this Version