Preliminary Assessment of Procedures for Coating Steel Components on Virginia Bridges

Report No: 14-R1

Published in 2013

About the report:

The purpose of this study was to conduct a preliminary assessment of the Virginia Department of Transportation’s (VDOT’s) bridge coating practices to identify areas where process improvements and/or cost savings could be realized. The assessment included reviewing VDOT’s coating procedures, coating performance, and costs associated with bridge coating work, including containment systems, surface preparation techniques, and coating systems. In addition, information on bridge coating products and programs from bridge coating industries and organizations was gathered.

The study found that the predominant methods VDOT uses to prepare and coat steel bridge components are adequate and are consistent with industry and compliance standards. These methods include dry abrasive blasting and the use of power tool cleaning for surface preparation; conventional full containment that achieves minimal emissions; and use of a three-coat zinc-based coating system. However, enacting changes in some of the preliminary work for a bridge coating project could improve VDOT’s coating process and potentially reduce costs. These changes include providing additional guidance for coating treatment decisions and preventive maintenance; providing contractors more project scope details in the bid and contract documents; and requiring discussion of job-specific tasks in the preconstruction meeting.

Combining the data from Site Manager and the Pontis Structure Inventory appears to be an efficient means of evaluating expenditures and trends. Analyzing costs for recoating work (VDOT’s most common coating method) can be expedited by using “bridge deck area” (a field in the Pontis Structure Inventory) rather than “steel tonnage” (which must be drawn from individual contracts).

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.

Last updated: November 13, 2023

Alert Icon

Please note that this file is not ADA compliant. Choose one of below options: