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Wearing surface is the first line of defense in combating environmental and traffic related

degradation of bridge decks and superstructures.

Wearing surface on orthotropic steel plate decks is to provide a durable and skid-resistance
surface for vehicular traffic. The wearing surface should be regarded as an integral part of the
total orthotropic deck system and shall be specified to be bonded to the top of the deck plate as
per AASHTO requirements. The surfacing for vehicular traffic performs several functions:

1. Skid resistance: exhibits high skid resistance throughout the life of the surfacing and
provide safety against hydroplaning.
2. Smooth riding: provides a smooth riding surface;
3. Impermeability : helps waterproofs the steel deck;
1. Resistance to permanent deformation and fatigue: resist cracking, rutting, shoving,
delaminating, debonding, and displacing for a long service life with low maintenance cost
and disruption to traffic for repairs;

A stiff and well bonded wear surfacing can provide some reduction in fatigue stresses in the
steel deck, ribs and welds by dynamic composite action with the deck plate. In addition,
surfacing with a thickness of 50 mm provides distribution of the wheel loads and damping of the
steel plates.

Hard, durable and polish-resistant aggregates should be selected; preferably with small
asperities projecting from the surface to reduce wearing and polishing of aggregates from the
surface and in turn reduction of skid resistance. The asperities help to increase the dry skid
resistance and also provide a rough surface for improved bonding with the aggregate within the
matrix of the surfacing.

There are three basic classifications of surfacing for orthotropic decks:

1. Thin surfacing from 4 to 8 mm thick;

2. Surfacing composed of mastics with binders of asphalt or polymer resins usually laid
from about 12 to 75 mm;
3. Surfacing composed of concertos with binders of asphalt and polymer resins usually laid
from about 18 to 60 mm.

Wearing Surface Delamination Mechanisms

• Thermal Compatibility
• Fracture Mechanics
• Moisture

The failure of wearing surface can be caused by

• The deck plate thickness (stiffness)
• Poor construction practices
• Installation quality control
• Bridge deck splice details
• Creep
• Weather condition: temperature and humidity conditions (Freeze Thaw action)
• Flexible orthotropic decks can cause a stiffer wearing surface to pop off
Skid resistance

To provide adequate skid resistance for high speed traffic, two requirements must be
satisfied. The pavement surface must provide adequate adhesion between the tire and
the pavement even in wet weather conditions, and the pavement must have sufficiently
rough surface texture and drainage potential to prevent a buildup of water at the tire
pavement interface.

Two differing methods of skid resistance testing are performed, including the use of a
British Pendulum Tester as well as a locked wheel skid test.

Selection criteria:
• Skid resistance and riding comfort;
• Impermeability;
• Resistance to permanent deformation and fatigue;
• Resistant to
• Constructability and quality control issues;
• Performance;
• Cost;
• Past evaluations.