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Home > News > ICRI Award > Root Causes of Deck Deterioration



Root Causes of Deck Deterioration

Early details of pre-stressed systems had certain characteristics that caused the tendons and anchors to collect, or be exposed to, moisture, leading to subsequent corrosion. The protection of pre-stressing tendons was not officially addressed until 1985, and continued investigation into the causes and effects of corrosion on post-tensioned concrete has been carried out by the American Concrete Institute (ACI). In January 1995, ACI Committee 423 filed a draft report entitled, "Corrosion of Unbonded Post-Tensioning Tendons" which was used in the investigation of the Ocean Vista Deck were virtually unprotected, active corrosion was ongoing.


Alkali-Silica Reaction (ASR) is a tremendous concern in certain regions of the United States because of the uncontrollable deterioration of concrete manufactured using aggregates that are now known to be reactive. Areas near the coast are particularly vulnerable because of the high chloride content of the moisture which is allowed to penetrate the concrete. The Saticoy region of Ventura County, source of the aggregate used, is one of the regions known to quarry reactive fine aggregates.


In 1983, samples of the deck concrete were analyzed in the laboratory and shoed the presence of reactive fine aggregates; however, no specific conclusions on ASR were documented. A load test was performed to assess excessive deflection under service loads; but no noticeable deflection was measured.


In 1985, it was suggested that the live load capacity, or service load, of the deck be reduced from 300 psf (1465 kilograms/sq. m) to 1250 psf (732 kilograms/sq. m) This was due to the corrosion which had been observed and the questions which remained as to the integrity of the deck. It was also recommended that a protective coating be applied to prevent further moisture penetration. This coating has probably been the greatest contributor in reducing the amount of distress to this deck since its application in 1985.


In 1991, concrete repairs were performed to localized spalls in the underside of the deck. When it was observed that these spalls were the result of corroded and broken pre-stressing tendons, concerns as to a possible safety hazard due to the loss of pre-stressing led to the development of a plan to restore the loss of strength to the deck.


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Ste. B
Anaheim, CA 92806
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