Fiberglass Jacket System Successfully Protects Key Texas Bridge

Image courtesy of Denso North America.

In 2003, the concrete bridge supporting Interstate 45 (I-45) near Clear Lake, Texas, USA, was rehabilitated with the SeaShield Series 500 system from Denso North America (Smithfield, Michigan, USA). Using fiberglass jackets, the system is designed to provide heavy-duty pile protection.

The 2003 project included the complete encapsulation of 36 square concrete piles. The contractor, Orion Marine Construction (Channelview, Texas, USA), utilized 16.75-inch (42.5 cm) square SeaShield Fiber-Form jackets, which yielded a 3/8-inch (1.0 cm) annular space that was pumped and filled with SeaShield 550 epoxy grout.

The epoxy grout, due to its flow characteristics, was able to completely fill in all voids, cracks, and minor spalls in the piles, according to the company.

Seventeen years later, a recent inspection in early 2020 revealed that the Series 500 system is performing as designed. Furthermore, the system was able to provide additional abrasion and impact resistance that protected the piles from Hurricane Rita and Hurricane Ike in 2005 and 2008, respectively.

Tidal surges from these storms brought in destructive flotsam and debris that impacted many of the piles along the I-45 corridor from Galveston to Houston. However, this bridge withstood damage, according to Denso.

Along with mechanical protection, the system also provides excellent compressive, flexural, and tensile strength, as well as good bond strength to the concrete piles. The system is expected to provide many more years of additional service life to these piles, according to the company.

Source: Denso North America,