The National Academies

NCHRP 10-52 [Completed]

Performance Tests for Modular Bridge Joints

  Project Data
Funds: $362,734
Research Agency: University of Minnesota
Principal Investigator: Robert J. Dexter
Effective Date: 6/1/1998
Completion Date: 3/31/2001

NCHRP Report 467 Performance Testing for Modular Bridge Joint Systems contains the findings of research performed to develop performance requirements for modular bridge joint systems. The report includes recommended testing specifications; material, fabrication, and construction guidelines; and a joint anchorage design example. The material in this report will be of immediate interest to bridge designers.

Bridge deck joints are used to accommodate the longitudinal expansion and contraction of a bridge superstructure. Modular joints permit large movements and prevent corrosive roadway runoff from leaking onto the bridge beams and substructure. Modular bridge joint systems are complex and expensive mechanical devices. These systems are composed of various combinations of metal rails and metal support bars, and elastomeric sealing systems. Many of these devices provide marginal performance, resulting in failures in the structural support and sealing system. Substantial maintenance is generally necessary to keep these devices operating. In many instances, these joints perform so poorly that they are removed and replaced prematurely. To assist transportation agencies in the selection and installation of these systems, performance requirements are needed.

Under NCHRP Project 10-52, the University of Minnesota developed performance requirements for modular bridge joint systems and developed test methods and test equipment for the prequalification and acceptance of such systems to meet these requirements. In addition, critical issues relating to design, fabrication, installation, and construction inspection were identified to ensure that these requirements provide a suitable service life. This report provides full details of the research methods. Recommended performance test specifications; materials, fabrication, and construction guidelines; and an anchorage design example are included in appendices. Many of the guidelines are also applicable to strip seals.

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