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18-01 — Successful Approaches for the Use of Hydrodemolition for Partial Depth Removal of Bridge Decks

Rehabilitation of bridge decks is a recurring task for almost all agencies responsible for maintaining a road network. The task typically entails disturbance of traffic operations, exposure of workers to active traffic, and environmental remediation. Technology, procedures, and practices that can improve agencies’ ability to reduce the time required and associated risks and adverse impacts for deck replacements can have widespread benefits. Several state transportation agencies are finding that hydrodemolition is offering such benefits. Learning and disseminating the lessons of these agencies’ experience can accelerate the technology’s adoption and support refinement and standardization of practice, particularly with regard to challenges associated with environmental restrictions, water sources, water disposal, and applications to deeper decks.

This scan will meet with users of hydrodemolition and document their specific applications. The team will seek to examine bridges undergoing hydrodemolition as well as bridges that have undergone past hydrodemolition of deck replacements to study both the process and long term performance of bridges that have been subject to a partial deck replacement. The team will explore various aspects of the hydrodemolition process, gathering perspectives of agencies, contractors, and consultants experienced in hydrodemolition.

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Scan Results and Report

Ready Results Brief


Implementation and Impact

Scan team member Paul Pilarski from Minnesota DOT made a presentation at the TRB AKT60 Standing Committee on Bridge Preservation Annual (virtual) meeting as part of the 2021 TRB Conference. He shared findings, recommendations and best practices on hydrodemolition.

Scan Chair, Cheryl Hersh Simmons of Utah DOT, provided the teams' perspectives on the scan outcomes:

Scan Members

  • Cheryl Hersh Simmons, Utah DOT, AASHTO Chair
  • Zhengzheng “Jenny” Fu, Louisiana DOTD
  • John Belcher, Michigan DOT
  • Paul Pilarski, Minnesota DOT
  • Behrooz Rad, D.C. DOT
  • DeWayne Wilson, Washington State DOT
  • Xiaohua "Hannah" Cheng, New Jersey DOT
  • Romeo Garcia, FHWA
  • Brent Phares, Subject Matter Expert, Iowa State University

Workshop Participants

Left to right: DeWayne Wilson (Washington State DOT), Behrooz Rad (D.C. DOT), Paul Pilarski (Minnesota DOT), Hannah Cheng (New Jersey DOT), Romeo Garcia (FHWA), Cheryl Hersh Simmons (Utah DOT), Brent Phares (Iowa State University), Jenny Fu (Louisiana DOTD), and John Belcher (Michigan DOT).