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Partial/Full Depth Deck Repairs
October 19th, 2018
Repairs to the fifty-two (52) year old Route 8 / I-84 interchange in Waterbury, popularly known as the “Mixmaster”, are currently underway. Both temporary and permanent repairs to several of the ten (10) separate bridges that make up the Mixmaster have begun.
For those of you who frequently travel over these bridges, you most likely have seen white patches that spot the asphalt surface. These are known as either partial or full depth deck repairs.
The process of investigating repair areas starts with what we call “sounding” the deck. Similar to knocking on your wall to locate a stud to hang a picture, an inspector bangs on the deck to listen for hollow spots. Once identified, the contractor removes the yielding concrete material and replaces it with rapid-set concrete.
The rapid-set concrete is able to achieve design strength – approximately 3000psi (psi = pounds per square inch) in less than 2 hours, allowing the Connecticut Department of Transportation (Department) to complete needed repairs during an overnight work shift. The quick setting aspect of the mix makes it difficult to work with since its initial set is often less than 20 minutes and is somewhat dependent on weather conditions.
When permanent bridge deck repairs are performed, the Department first mills the asphalt surface, sounds the deck by repeatedly beating on it with a short piece of chain or hammer to find less dense areas, makes repairs, and installs a protective membrane over the repaired deck surface prior to repaving. The protective membrane significantly reduces or eliminates water infiltration increasing the serviceability of the rehabilitated concrete bridge deck.
With many of the current repairs being temporary, the Department has taken on a less costly repair process. Instead of fully removing the asphalt wearing surface requiring nightly repaving, we are sounding the deck through the asphalt surface and removing only those sections of asphalt necessary to make the repair. When repairs are completed, we pour back the patched area even with the finished riding surface. This saves time and reduces traffic and costs.
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