Polymer Overlays Lengthen Bridge Life
State DOT engineers in recent years have started to look at the advantages of thin polymer wearing surfaces for bridge deck construction, rehabilitation, and preservation. Originally offered more than two decades ago, polymer bridge overlays slowly have been gaining wide acceptance as a viable alternative to more standard bridge construction and rehabilitation materials. Thin polymer overlays can consist of methacrylate, epoxy, or polyester resins and can be applied in a variety of methods. Today's polymer materials have been used on concrete, concrete-filled steel grid, steel orthotropic, fiberglass reinforced plastics, and wooden bridge decks. Polymer overlays are appropriate for use on small bridges in remote locations due to the minimal equipment and labor required to install, and also have been used on large structures in cities where bridges carry more than 150,000 vehicles per day.