Determining the Cost/Benefit of Routine Maintenance Cleaning of Steel Bridges to Prevent Structural Deterioration

This study was conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration. The objectives of this study are to identify the key variables necessary in estimating the impact of regular washing of steel bridges on the paint and service life, recommend methods for recording data in order to most effectively estimate the benefits of bridge washing, and to develop a framework for assessing the impact of bridge washing on paint life. A literature review was conducted to learn more about the mechanisms of corrosion. Then a nationwide survey was sent out to state transportation agencies. A follow-up survey was conducted in order to obtain more detailed information about certain washing programs. It was concluded that little information on the effects of bridge washing exists and it is only deemed beneficial based on anecdotal assumptions. An experiment is proposed for WSDOT that will provide hard data to make a decision.
Publication Date: 
Monday, September 30, 2013
Publication Number: 
WA-RD 811.1
Last modified: 
10/12/2016 - 15:42
Jeffrey Berman, Charles Roeder, Ryan Burgdorfer.
Washington State Transportation Center (TRAC)
Number of Pages: 
Steel bridges, Washing, Cleaning, Preventive maintenance, Corrosion, Paint, Maintenance practices, Benefit cost analysis, Surveys, Data collection, Recommendations.