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The University Bridge Arch Assessment = A New Approach


The University Bridge in Saskatoon is a multi-span concrete arch bridge with a service life that
began in 1916. Rehabilitation of the bridge deck is currently underway and expected to be
completed during the summer of 2015 with rehabilitation of the bridge arches and piers planned
to occur in 10 to 15 years.
This manuscript outlines an investigation taken to evaluate a number of different arch
rehabilitation strategies using numerical models and experimental data. The rehabilitation
strategies considered in this investigation include: do nothing, Fiber Reinforced Polymer wrap,
Galvanic Cathodic Protection, Impressed Cathodic Protection, Re-alkalization, Electrochemical
Chloride Extraction, and applying a Penetrating Sealer.
Experimental data was obtained concerning properties of the concrete, pore solution, rebar, and
environmental conditions within the concrete. Cores were removed for compression testing and
pore solution composition analysis. Rebar was also removed for electrochemical testing,
including potentiodynamic scans and long-term exposure tests. Semi-permanent probes were
inserted to measure environmental properties inside the concrete related to water saturation and
oxygen content. Values from these experimental data were then used in the development of
numerical models.
Simulations and measured data demonstrated low moisture levels and high oxygen content within
the concrete were coupled with low/insignificant corrosion rates on the reinforcing metal in most
regions. However, measured data suggested high negative half-cell readings could be
associated with regions of high concrete moisture (above 60% by volume) due to surface runoff
and water pooling on the arches. Numerical modeling and experimental data suggest the
relatively low moisture levels within the concrete could be utilized and enhanced to mitigate the
corrosion of reinforcing steel. Therefore, building on these conditions, a synergistic mitigation
strategy was recommended that incorporated two technologies: discrete Galvanic Cathodic
Protection anodes and a Penetrating Sealer. Calculated savings due to this study revealed
savings of the order-of-magnitude in the range of $2 to $4 million when compared with alternate
rehabilitation strategies.
Additionally, the results of the assessment demonstrate the age of a structure has limited bearing
on the remaining service life. Rather, if the underlying deterioration processes are controlled or
minimized, the life of the element can be extended indefinitely so long as regular monitoring is in
place to identify changes in either the environment or condition of the element that would affect
the deterioration rates. As such, with the proposed rehabilitation method the City will have a
system that with regular monitoring, which is already part of their City wide asset management
system, will be easily capable of meeting the desired 50 year service life extension at a minimal
cost impact to the overall project.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Kennell, G.
Zacaruk, J.
Li, G.
Boulfiza, M.