What is UHPC for Bridge Preservation and Repair?
Ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) is a new material for bridge construction that has become popular for field-cast connections between prefabricated bridge elements. Bridge preservation and repair (P&R) is an emerging and promising application for UHPC. UHPC-based repair solutions are robust, and offer superior strength, durability, and improved life-cycle cost over traditional methods. State and local agencies can deploy UHPC for bridge preservation and repair to maintain or improve bridge conditions.
Keeping bridges in a state of good repair is essential to keeping the transportation system operating efficiently. Agencies at all levels can deploy UHPC for bridge preservation and repair to maintain or improve bridge conditions cost effectively.
Stronger Repairs, Extended Service Life
Because of its strength and durability, UHPC can be an optimum solution for some repairs. UHPC can be used in situations that normally use conventional concrete or repair mortars, and in some cases those that use structural steel. Some UHPC mixes gain strength rapidly, so bridges could be opened to traffic 24 hours after completing the necessary repairs. Additionally, UHPC repairs are long lasting and resilient, requiring less maintenance and fewer follow-up repairs than conventional methods. In some cases, they can outlive and outperform their conventional counterparts—UHPC repairs could be the strongest and most durable part of the bridge.
Versatility. UHPC can generally be used anywhere other types of concrete would be used, and due to its strength and durability, it can be the optimum material for many applications.
Durability. UHPC-based repairs are long-lasting and require less maintenance and fewer follow-up repairs.
Cost Savings. UHPC repairs can outlive and outperform their conventional counterparts, resulting in life-cycle cost savings. UHPC bridge deck overlays and link slabs can extend the service life of bridges well beyond that of traditional preservation and repair strategies.
Learn more about this EDC-6 Innovation.
UHPC for Bridge Preservation and Repair in NJ
Stage of Innovation:
Using UHPC. NJDOT completed construction of two bridge preservation projects in 2020. The agency is currently gathering information on performance and usability from these two pilot projects, which include four bridges using UHPC overlay.
The Future of UHPC for Bridge Preservation & Repair (P&R). The agency anticipates incorporating UHPC for bridge preservation and repair in its new design manual, using data collected from the current pilots and will further investigate performance and examine life cycle costs. NJDOT will use these indicators to determine future usage and applicability with additional research through the Bridge Research Program.
Building Support. Communicating UHPC information related to bridge preservation and repair to stakeholders statewide is vital and will be pursued with support from NJDOT Local Aid at select events and gatherings with design engineers and, as appropriate, through the NJDOT Research Showcase or Tech Talk! events. Social media platforms will also be used to communicate UHPC information to a broad audience.
In this most recent reporting period:
- NJDOT Hosted FHWA Workshop UHPC EDC-6 P&R
- NJDOT participated in the international bridge conference with lessons learned presentation
- NJDOT assisted local agencies with lessons learned
- The testing program was initiated for establishing baseline of UHPC overlays constructed.
- First UHPC link slab application was in the construction phase.
In the next six-month period, it is anticipated that:
- Performance baseline of UHPC overlays constructed will be established.
- First NJDOT UHPC link slab will be constructed
A long-term program is being finalized that will include impact echo testing and shear wave tomography of the UHPC on bridge specimens. Also, potential research on UHPC using Fiber-Reinforced Polymers (FRP) with the NJDOT Bridge Resource Program is being considered. NJDOT is also collaborating with AASHTO to develop a UHPC course targeted to the construction industry.
UHPC for Bridge Preservation and Repair: NEW & NOTEWORTHY