National Steel Bridge Alliance
Post-Tensioned Concrete Bridges
What's going on inside that bridge? You need x-ray vision to find out.
Myth: Post-tensioned (PT) concrete bridges are relatively maintenance-free.
Myth: PT concrete bridges have a 100-year service life.
Facts: Existing bridges and research have demonstrated that PT bridges require difficult, expensive monitoring and maintenance and can have service lives of as little as 30 years.
Many of these problems stem from corrosion, which can be difficult to detect in tendons that are encased in concrete. Many DOTs don't actually know how many of their bridges have hidden corrosion and other internal damage.
You need the facts. AISC and NSBA have produced a white paper entitled "Performance and Maintenance of Post-Tensioned Concrete Bridges" that reviews industry concerns and research related to construction and service life, inspection, repairability, maintenance, long-term serviceability, and other uncertainties.
The combination of corrosion vulnerabilities, inspection difficulties that result in unreliable inspection data, and potential for deterioration that remains hidden increase the long-term performance risk of PT concrete bridges to owners and to the traveling public.