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Design and Construction Practices for Efficient Bridge Deck Drainage

9 pagesPublished: May 26, 2024


The National Bridge Inventory (NBI) of the United States includes more than 600,000 bridges. A significant number of current bridges is structurally deficient and/or functionally obsolete. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) as well as State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) are investigating possible alternatives to improve the NBI bridges rating. Flooding and excessive rain are among the causes of bridges deterioration. Bridge deck runoff has been a prime source of pollution. In addition, reduced deck drainage efficiency due to poor design, mal construction practices, and lack of maintenance results in runoff accumulation on bridge decks. Increased accumulation of runoff results in traffic congestions, potential bridge deterioration due to increased corrosion, and a substantial impact on bridge aesthetics. Excessive runoff accumulation may result in hydroplaning and higher accidents rates. This paper presents the significance of properly designed, constructed, and maintained deck drainage systems. A nation-wide survey outcomes of State DOTs regarding best design, construction, and maintenance practices of deck drains is presented, and the relevant outcomes of their impact on bridge condition is highlighted. The implementation of bridge deck drainage best practices in bridge design projects will result in improved bridge functionality, increased bridges load rating, reduced maintenance, and improved aesthetics.

Keyphrases: bridge maintenance, deck drainage, Hydroplaning, inlets, Runoff, scuppers

In: Tom Leathem, Wesley Collins and Anthony J. Perrenoud (editors). Proceedings of 60th Annual Associated Schools of Construction International Conference, vol 5, pages 813--821

BibTeX entry
  author    = {Amin Akhnoukh and Rudolf Seracino},
  title     = {Design and Construction Practices for Efficient Bridge Deck Drainage},
  booktitle = {Proceedings of 60th Annual Associated Schools of Construction International Conference},
  editor    = {Tom Leathem and Wes Collins and Anthony Perrenoud},
  series    = {EPiC Series in Built Environment},
  volume    = {5},
  pages     = {813--821},
  year      = {2024},
  publisher = {EasyChair},
  bibsource = {EasyChair,},
  issn      = {2632-881X},
  url       = {},
  doi       = {10.29007/nt78}}
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