| Connect Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook
About | Subscribe | Advertise


Download our free ebook on Advances in Corrosion Control Coating Technology

Paint and Coatings Industry News

Main News Page

Feds Test Bridges Built with Bad Grout

Thursday, December 13, 2012

More items for Coating Materials

Comment | More

Defective grout may have been used to build as many as three dozen bridges in 21 states from November 2002 to March 2010, the Federal Highway Administration is reporting.

Excessive chloride levels in up to 20 million pounds of Sika Corp.'s Grout 300 PT prompted the company to release a statement in December 2011 listing the affected lot numbers.

Since then, Sika has been notifying contractors and project owners who may have purchased the grout, which was produced at the company's Marion, OH, facility. Production was halted in March 2010.

Maryland State Highway Administration

Three dozen bridges in 21 states may have been built with defective grout. The FHWA is now examining corrosion and chloride levels in several of them.

Sampling and Testing

The heads of the Maryland and Virginia transportation departments have expressed concern about the issue in a letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. The letter cited the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, which carries I-95 over the Potomac River.

Federal and state highway officials say there is no imminent hazard, according to The Baltimore Sun. The FHWA said the presence of chloride is not an indication of corrosion but "does indicate corrosion potential."

Federal officials are currently conducting tests to determine the long-term effects of chloride-contaminated grout on steel cable.

Chloride and Grout

In October, Paul Kelley, PE, Senior Principal at Simpson Gumpertz & Heger presented the "Interim Report on Investigation of Impacts of Chloride in Post Tensioning Grout" at Kansas State University during the 19th Annual Bridge Design Workshop.

The presentation provided information on an overview of chloride issues, chloride sampling, and critical chloride testing.

Accoding to Kelley's update, the scope of the investigation as of Oct. 5 has included:

  • Sampling 10 bridges with easily accessible tendons spanning the full production period to determine if contamination risk as time boundaries;
  • Determining if manufacturing records of cement supplier and Sika can define high chloride production dates; and
  • Determining critical chloride content.

A total of 439 samples have been tested; 321 are field samples and 118 are retained samples, Kelley reported. Out of the samples, 59 percent have acid-soluble Cl- by weight of cement greater than 0.08 percent, which is the FHWA's specified limit.

Paul Kelley / KSU

At the 19th Annual Bridge Design Workshop in October 2012, updates were provided on the investigation into bridges built with grout containing excessive levels of chloride.

Kelley also discussed the objectives of FHWA's Accelerated Corrosion Testing, which included:

  • Determining chloride threshold value(s) experimentally for PT strands in different conditions;
  • Performing an immediate corrosion risk assessment of the PT strands exposed to the chloride contaminated Sika 300 PT grout; and
  • Evaluating overall long-term safety of the affected bridge structures containing the unacceptable grout.

The presentation also outlined future work on the invesigation. A preliminary data comparison with FHWA was planned for completion in November 2012.

A FHWA representative could not yet confirm if this data comparison has been completed.

After testing is completed, the next steps for guidance on allowable critical chloride levels will be planned with the FHWA Stakeholders Group based on the sampling results.

Sika has hired a team of independent experts to analyze potential risks and make recommendations and has instituted new quality control testing before grout is shipped to contractors, said Diana Pisciotta, Sika spokesperson, according to The Baltimore Sun.


Tagged categories: Bridges; Chlorides; Corrosion; Department of Transportation (DOT); Grout; Sika

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

New resins from BASF will have metals loving water:

Excellent corrosion resistance, low VOC, high gloss, thin films

Wasser High-Tech Coatings Inc.
Wasser Coatings Protect

Wasser Coatings offer a complete range of Moisture Cure Urethane (NEPCOAT approved) systems in addition to Polyurea membranes and linings(NSF).

Mitsubishi Gas Chemical America
Performance Amine 1,3-BAC

A highly reactive cycloaliphatic diamine offering superior performance. Reasonable cost and curing efficacy makes it suitable for all types of epoxy resin applications.

Polyval Coatings
Polyflex® Polyurea Linings

Polyflex ™ new Polyurea Geotextile Membrane System has been specifically engineered to protect the environment in containment applications.

HoldTight Solutions Inc.

Our HoldTight®102 salt remover & flash rush inhibitor prevents flash rust by removing surface contaminants.
Contact us for your nearest distributor. (800) 319.8802

Abrasives Inc.
Check our Prices for Blast Abrasives

Faced with higher abrasive costs? We invite you to call & check our rates on Black Magic® coal slag and other quality blast materials. Abrasives Inc. 800-584-7524

Thermion Inc
Buy Back Program

We are offering $5,000
credit for your old Model
This drive system is
being discontinued by
the manufacturer.
More information at

U.S. Zinc
Historic Reliability. Innovative Performance.

The reliable protection properties of our zinc dust help combat deterioration and corrosion in your paints and coatings. U.S. Zinc - Helping the world work™

Atlantic Design, Inc.

We custom design.
We sell new & used.
We upgrade.
We retrofit.
We rent.
What are your equipment needs?
Cleverly simple. Clearly ADI. 866.Call.ADI

Technology Publishing

The Technology Publishing Network

The Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings (JPCL) PaintSquare
Durability + Design Paint BidTracker

EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About   |   Privacy policy   |   Terms & conditions   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us

© Copyright 2000-2015, Technology Publishing / PaintSquare, All rights reserved
2100 Wharton Street, Suite 310, Pittsburgh PA 15203-1951; Tel 1-412-431-8300; Fax 1-412-431-5428; E-mail