Continuing Education

Corrosion Prevention for Extending Steel Bridge Service Life

Corrosion is one of the most often-cited problems with steel bridges. To varying degrees, it affects both the appearance and structural integrity of a bridge.

According to the 2015 National Bridge Inventory there are over 180,000 steel bridge structures in the United States, which is nearly 30% of the bridge inventory. A 2001 FHWA study identified the annual direct cost of corrosion for highway bridges in the United States to be $6.43 to $10.15 billion.

This paper presents a broad review of practices to extend steel bridge service life by protecting them from corrosion during design and maintenance. The paper will cover standard practices and recent innovations in corrosion control during design and maintenance of both coated and uncoated steel bridges. This paper is based on NCHRP Synthesis 517, Corrosion Prevention for Extending the Service Life of Steel Bridges. The complete report is available at

  • Date: 4/3/2019 - 4/5/2019
  • PDH Credits: 0


J. Peter Ault, PE

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