In the United States, UHPC has been used for thin-bonded overlays and bridge deck partial-depth replacements since 2016. It has an even longer track record in Europe.
UHPC Mix development/production and associated costs
Developing a UHPC material that is suitable for use as a bridge deck overlay poses a few challenges, one being cost. The overlay application requires a relatively high dosage (>400 lbs/yd3) of expensive (and price volatile) steel fiber reinforcement which is a critical component of the mix to restrain shrinkage and control cracking. Additionally, UHPCs are typically a blended and bagged product, meaning production and freight costs need to be taken into account.
However, the use of this newer technology will provide a long-term reduction in maintenance costs and traffic interruptions. A Lifecycle Cost Analysis (LCA) of the DMB project resulted in a $65 Million savings over a period of 50 years by implementing the UHPC overlay solution.
Greg Nault, PE, SE, Ductal’s UHPC engineered technology team member, states that involvement in a project of this magnitude has propelled Ductal’s reputation to higher levels in the preservation and repair of structures industry and will open the door for other bridge owners to apply this emerging technology and solution on their bridges.
Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC) Overlays: An Example of Lifecycle Cost Analysis, FHWA Publication No.: FHWA-HRT-23-012