About the research
With the ongoing concern about premature cracking of concrete bridge decks that reduces the service life of bridges and results in increased maintenance and replacement costs, this work aimed at assessing the benefits of using lightweight fine aggregate (LWFA) in concrete mixtures to assist the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) in preparing a specification to increase the probability of achieving crack-free, long-lasting bridge decks. A laboratory testing program led to a recommended mix design for implementation on a bridge construction project in Ohio. The design included the use of 50% slag cement and LWFA for internal curing. Construction of two bridge decks involved a control using a conventional mix design and the other containing the recommended mixture. The decks were instrumented and load tested shortly after construction and inspected one year after placement. No differences in structural performance were noted, but there were far fewer cracks in the test deck compared to the control. A life-cycle cost analysis was also conducted and shown that the premium for the recommended mixture would be recovered in reduced maintenance over the life of the bridge.