Methodology for Uncertainty-Based Inspection Planning of Concrete Bridge Decks Using Mechanistic Models of Crack Formation and Propagation

The current legally required two-year inspection interval for most bridges is not an efficient system for conducting inspections, because many bridges do not require inspections this frequently, while others would benefit from more frequent monitoring. The research presented herein is based on the premise that, fundamentally, inspections are conducted to update information about the current condition of structures to provide information for decision making. Thus, inspections should only be conducted when there is a reasonable expectation that the information gathered from the inspection will provide a greater level of certainty about bridge conditions that will facilitate more appropriate decisions. From this premise, this report proposes an uncertainty-based approach to planning inspection timing and determining inspection type based on limited resources. The report includes an example demonstrating how such an approach could be implemented for reinforced concrete (RC) bridge decks. Based on existing deterioration models, a program called the Concrete Deck Cracking Probability Model (CDCPM) is written in MATLAB to model the uncertainty in the occurrence of transverse cracking and delamination in the deck. The effect of different climates and mechanistic models on the prediction of cracking is explored using CDCPM. This model is applied to a bridge in Larimer County, Colorado, to see how the results compare with actual inspection results, and the model is used to plan a future delamination inspection on the bridge. CDCPM revealed that the uncertainty in the current bridge condition is heavily influenced by the mechanistic models chosen for the analysis, as well as some of the parameters used in the models. The surface chloride content has a large effect on the delamination of the concrete deck, while the relative humidity and ambient temperature for a given location can affect the probability of transverse cracking. Suggestions for implementing the bridge inspection plan for agency use are also provided.

  • Record URL:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This document was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, University Transportation Centers Program.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Colorado State University, Fort Collins

    Fort Collins, CO  United States  80523

    Mountain-Plains Consortium

    North Dakota State University
    Fargo, ND  United States  58108

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Sanders, Patrick
    • Atadero, Rebecca
    • Ozbek, Mehmet
  • Publication Date: 2018-7


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 114p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01680063
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: MPC-18-346, MPC-449
  • Created Date: Sep 11 2018 11:16AM