The Commodore Barry Bridge, built in 1971, represents a major passageway linking southeastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey, transporting over 35,000 vehicles per day across the Delaware River. By the mid-1990s, the bridge’s reinforced concrete deck was in need of rehabilitation. The main culprit was transverse cracking which allowed deicer salts to penetrate the bridge surface and initiate corrosion of the reinforcing steel.
Initial rehabilitation options such as latex-modified concrete overlays and waterproof membranes proved prohibitively expensive, $30 million to $50 million. In 1997, the Delaware River Port Authority started evaluating surface-applied corrosion inhibitors as an alternative and cost-effective approach to remediate the bridge’s concrete deck. After three years of field evaluation, Protectosil CIT was selected as their product of choice to reduce future corrosion spalling.
Protectosil is an organofunctional silane system designed to short-circuit the corrosion current and creates passivity of the steel. Extensive laboratory testing on traverse cracking, and verified on the bridge deck, showed over 90% reduction in corrosion with the Protectosil CIT.
In 2001 and 2002, the concrete was repaired and then Protectosil CIT was applied to approximately 900,000 sq ft of bridge deck and approach ramps. The corrosion inhibitor treatment required only five hours to treat each lane, allowing for quick turnaround and reopening to traffic. Since that time, corrosion monitoring, using a linear polarization method, has confirmed the effectiveness of Protectosil CIT.