Building infrastructure to last is becoming increasingly topical as cities and countries are burdened with the high costs of maintaining things like hospitals and highways, some of which are not particularly old but were built with materials not suited for the intensity of use, the geography or other factors.
For bridges, the use of carbon steel rebar has led to the deterioration of concrete over time, particularly in regions that use road salt or are near salt water. Nickel-containing stainless steel rebar prevents damage to structures caused by rebar corrosion. Stainless steel rebar is used in ever increasing amounts today, both in North America and around the world. While stainless steel is more expensive, its selective use is justified financially when all the costs of maintaining the structure over its life are considered.
In Alberta’s capital city of Edmonton (about 30 km southwest of Sherritt’s Fort Site), winter is especially hard on the roads, with cold temperatures, lots of snow and the need to apply large amounts of salt to keep them free of ice. In 2011, the city specified Type 2304 (S32304) stainless steel as a trial for one highway interchange on the new ring road that goes around the city. The success of that venture led to the specification of Type 2304 rebar for a major portion of the new section of the ring road, reported to be in the region of 6,000 tonnes.