WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – A new study shows that the grout used to protect steel supports cables in the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and many others could be the cause of premature rusting.
In a report by The Baltimore Sun, the grout used on the WW Bridge may be contaminated with too much chloride, which can result in an accelerated rusting process, ultimately deteriorating the bridge before its time.
The Federal Highway Administration has warned 21 states that as many as three dozen bridges may be maligned with this common defective grout issue, something that’s no imminent hazard, but could grow into a larger issue as time wears on. It is important to note, the FHA said the presence of chloride does not necessarily indicate corrosion, but does mean there is greater potential it could occur.
According to The Baltimore Sun report, chloride-contaminated grout was blamed in the collapse of a pedestrian walkway at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina in 2000, injuring more than 100 fans.
A spokesman for the Maryland State Highway Administration insists there is no safety issue now or in the foreseeable future for the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. “There’s so much redundancy built into the bridge. But we’re keeping an eye on it,” David Buck told the Baltimore Sun.
Crews area already responding to the discovery, with the Maryland State Highway Administration looking for cracks, discoloration or unusual wear in its routine four-month inspection of the 12-lane Woodrow Wilson Bridge.