Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Civil and Construction Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Osama Abudayyeh

Second Advisor

Dr. Xiaoyun Shao

Third Advisor

Dr. Ikhlas Abdel-Qader

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Mohammed Sultan


Time in condition rating (TCR), condition ratings (CRs), deterioration curves (DC), concrete bridge deck deterioration (CBDD), condition assessment (CA), deterioration prediction models (DPMs)


Bridges are key elements in the US transportation system. There are more than six hundred thousand bridges on the highway system in the United States. Approximately one third of these bridges are in need of maintenance and will cost more than $120 billion to rehabilitate or repair. Several factors affect the performance of bridges over their life spans. Identifying these factors and accurately assessing the condition of bridges are critical in the development of an effective maintenance program. While there are several methods available for condition assessment, selecting the best technique remains a challenge. Therefore, developing an accurate and reliable model for concrete bridge deck deterioration is a key step towards improving the overall bridge condition assessment process. Consequently, the main goal of this dissertation is to develop an improved bridge deck deterioration prediction model that is based on the National Bridge Inventory (NBI) database.

To achieve the goal, deterministic and stochastic approaches have been investigated to model the condition of bridge decks. While the literatures have typically proposed the Markov chain method as the best technique for the condition assessment of bridges, this dissertation reveals that some probability distribution functions, such as Lognormal and Weibull, could be better prediction models for concrete bridge decks under certain condition ratings. A new universal framework for optimizing the performance of prediction of concrete bridge deck condition was developed for this study. The framework is based on a nonlinear regression model that combines the Markov chain method with a state-specific probability distribution function.

In this dissertation, it was observed that on average, bridge decks could stay much longer in their condition ratings than the typical 2-year inspection interval, suggesting that inspection schedules might be extended beyond 2 years for bridges in certain condition rating ranges. The results also showed that the best statistical model varied from one state to another and there was no universal statistical prediction model that can be developed for all states. The new framework was implemented on Michigan data and demonstrated that the prediction error in the combined model was less than each of the two models (i.e. Markov and Lognormal). The results also showed that average daily traffic, age, deck area, structure type, skew angle, and environmental factors have significant impact on the deterioration of concrete bridge decks.

The contributions of the work presented in this dissertation include: 1) the identification of the significant factors that impact concrete bridge deck deterioration; 2) the development of a universal deterioration prediction framework that can be uniquely tailored for each state’s data; and 3) supporting the possibility of extending inspection schedules beyond the typical 2-year cycles. Future work may involve: 1) evaluating each of the factors that impact the deterioration rates in more depth by refining the investigation ranges; 2) investigating the possibility of revising the regular bridge deck inspection intervals beyond the 2-year cycles; and 3) developing deterioration prediction models for other bridge elements (i.e. superstructure and substructure) using the framework developed in this dissertation.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access