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Methods for Removing Concrete Decks from Bridge Girders, TR-647
InTrans Project Reports
  • Brent M. Phares, Iowa State University
  • Jennifer S. Shane, Iowa State University
  • Justin Michael Dahlberg, Iowa State University
  • Hongtao Dang
Document Type
Publication Date
With ever tightening budgets and limitations of demolition equipment, states are looking for cost-effective, reliable, and sustainable methods for removing concrete decks from bridges. The goal of this research was to explore such methods. The research team conducted qualitative studies through a literature review, interviews, surveys, and workshops and performed small-scale trials and push-out tests (shear strength evaluations). Interviews with bridge owners and contractors indicated that concrete deck replacement was more economical than replacing an entire superstructure under the assumption that the salvaged superstructure has adequate remaining service life and capacity. Surveys and workshops provided insight into advantages and disadvantages of deck removal methods, information that was used to guide testing. Small-scale trials explored three promising deck removal methods: hydrodemolition, chemical splitting, and peeling.

The related 3-page technology transfer summary, under the same title, can be found at:

Report Number
WBS: 25-1121-0003-134; Iowa DOT TR-647; InTrans 12-435
Granting Agencies

Iowa Highway Research Board, Iowa DOT;

Mid-America Transportation Center;

U.S. DOT Research and Innovative Technology Center

File Format
File Size
7 MB
Citation Information
Brent M. Phares, Jennifer S. Shane, Justin Michael Dahlberg and Hongtao Dang. "Methods for Removing Concrete Decks from Bridge Girders, TR-647" (2014)
Available at: