Tag Archive for: paint corrosion protection

Whether you are dealing with a giant suspension, cable-stayed, or truss bridge, your structure is sensitive to corrosion over time. Many things can cause corrosion, including natural elements like fire and water damage. But over time, corrosion will reduce the strength of a bridge’s structural elements, lower the load-bearing capacity, and increase fatigue on the structure.

To help maximize the strength and integrity of your bridge structure, here are several practical ways to combat bridge corrosion.

Regular Inspections

This one is self-explanatory but still the most reliable method to avoid bridge corrosion. Inspect bridges regularly and take note of any warning signs of corrosive damage. This will allow you to take early action and prevent catastrophic damage before it happens.

Also, make sure not to limit inspections only to the primary structural elements. Check things like the utility infrastructure elements that are suspended beneath bridges: hangers and seals are often affected by corrosive substances and can cause significant damage to the overall structure if left unattended.


During your regular inspections, you may encounter regular signs of wear and tear on the structure. Getting a head start on making these repairs can prevent larger, more serious structural damages from accumulating in the future. For example, make sure to repair cracks and potholes as soon as possible; this will help prevent fluids from penetrating the roadbed and damaging the substructure.

Here are a couple of key fixes to consider:

  • Apply an epoxy coating to the reinforced steel embedded within the concrete beams and pillars. While this may not completely halt the corrosion process, it will definitely slow it down between inspections.
  • Use less permeable concrete when making repairs to the bridge infrastructure. This can help prevent water from reaching and rusting the internal metal substructures.
  • Apply a sealant between the bridge deck and the upper driving surface. It will prevent seepage and pooling of corrosive solutions on and around the bridge’s metal components.


Many builders utilize the hot-dip galvanizing technique when constructing bridges. After properly cleaning and preparing the steel, it is submerged in 85% pure molten zinc, which reacts with the iron steel to create a strong, bonded coating.

There are many benefits to galvanizing. Mainly, galvanized steel does not require regular maintenance; in fact, galvanized steel prevents corrosion for up to 100 years in many cases. In fact, a galvanized bridge can reduce regular bridge maintenance by 50%.

Heating systems

If a bridge exists in a climate with extreme winter weather conditions, installing specialized heating systems can help deter the buildup of ice and snow. Using these systems can reduce the use of more harmful chemical solutions and require a large upfront investment, but they can pay off over time, especially in cold, snowy climates. This can also cut into the cost of workers needed to apply melting solutions, clear snow, and perform additional bridge maintenance and repairs.

Built to Last

As industry leaders and an AISC-recognized supplier, we guarantee the highest quality steel for every project. We build durable, reliable bridges quickly, using only the best tools and techniques available. Our pride comes from our wide variety of prefabricated bridge designs, which we know will easily meet your unique project needs.

Contact us for a free estimate, or use our industry-leading Bridgescope tool to begin planning your project now!

Life-Cycle Costs of Galvanized Bridges

Initial and maintenance costs are factors to consider when it comes to bridge building. So, choosing the right galvanizing for corrosion protection can be challenging. Hot-dip galvanized steel allows bridges to be durable and maintenance-free for 50-60 years or more. However, there are myths about how galvanizing bridges can be expensive. The reality is that the initial cost of hot-dip galvanized plate girder and beam steel can be less expensive in the long run. Think life-cycle costs. So, bridge builders should consider what is best: getting paint that will require significant and costly maintenance at 10 to 15 year intervals or selecting the best choice right off the bat? Read on to see the benefits of the life-cycle of galvanized bridges.

Decision Making Based on Life-Cycle Costs

Considering the life-cycle costs of galvanized bridges can help bridge builders save money in the end. With galvanized steel being more durable and maintenance-free for decades, steel bridges end up requiring less upkeep. However, more often than not, the selection of a paint corrosion protection is the responsibility of architects, engineers, or project owners. This means that they will most likely base their decision on initial cost, historical preference, and established specifications. In that order too. But while these are all important elements, the life-cycle for the duration of the design life is often greater than the initial cost.

The Complexity of Calculations

Calculating life-cycle cost is no easy task. Not only do exponential financial equations need to be considered, but also the cost of future maintenance. And the latter must be calculated in today’s dollars, while considering what inflation means to future value of money and what interest could be earned on the money used.

Thankfully, to make calculations simpler, the American Galvanizers Association created a life-cycle cost calculator. So, now bridge builders have a tool to help them calculate such costs.

Thinking About the Future

Overall, life-cycle costs bring about savings. But this goes beyond the savings that companies can have. It’s also about the quality of the bridge and the maintenance-free aspect that galvanizing offers. U.S. Bridge has been serving communities for more than 80 years, building bridges that withstand time. Our bridge experts will advise you on the best option for your bridge. Contact us today and let’s talk about your project.