UHPC Link Slabs and the Wilmington Viaduct Bridge Rehabilitation Project

  • David Nizamoff (WRA)


The I-95 Wilmington Viaduct located in Wilmington, Delaware is a sixty-simple span steel multi-beam bridge which recently underwent major rehabilitation from March 2021 to November 2022. Work included concrete repairs, protective deck overlay replacement, and transverse bridge deck joint replacements. In order to reduce future maintenance costs, the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) desired to eliminate as many deck joints as possible by constructing link slabs with Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC) . Similar applications completed by the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) revealed that the UHPC material is performing adequately with reasonable crack control spacing to prevent moisture and chloride penetration within the link slab. The NYSDOT application was based on using the link slab in conjunction with elastomeric expansion bearings at both span ends (i.e., Exp.-Exp. locations). DelDOT evaluated and modified the NYSDOT approach to the use of UHPC link slabs at superstructure locations with different support conditions at each span end, i.e., Fix-Fix, Exp.-Exp. and/or Fix-Exp. supported by steel sliding plate bronze bearings. Results of a 3-D non-linear analysis proved that the UHPC link slabs can be considered for use beyond just the Exp.-Exp. conditions with elastomeric bearings. The UHPC link slab detail constructed on the Wilmington Viaduct saved $3.5M in bearing replacement costs, accelerated the time to construct, reduced future maintenance costs, and increased the long-term serviceability of the bridge deck. In addition to the benefits of lower future maintenance due to the removal of the transverse bridge joints, UHPC link slabs can also be considered an Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) technique due to the time and cost savings compared to traditional full joint replacement. Going forward we will discuss lessons learned on how to make the detail better and easier to construct.

Keywords: bridges, accelerated bridge construction, modeling and analysis, link slabs, rehabilitation, resiliency, life cycle

How to Cite:

Nizamoff, D., (2023) “UHPC Link Slabs and the Wilmington Viaduct Bridge Rehabilitation Project”, International Interactive Symposium on Ultra-High Performance Concrete 3(1): 43. doi:

Rights: © 2023 The Author(s). All rights reserved.

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Published on
04 Jun 2023
Peer Reviewed