Rapid Bridge Deck Joint Repair Investigation

Projects to repair and/or replace bridge deck joints have become increasingly problematic for the Iowa Department of Transportation. Joint failure has a variety of causes. Traffic counts have exceeded the original design projections for most bridges, especially with regard to heavy vehicles. Since the joints are slightly recessed into that pavement, dynamically induced forces occur as wheels drop into the slight joint recess. Therefore the joint and the surrounding concrete often receive the hardest pounding of any bridge component. Many bridge deck joints are located at the end of a bridge where uneven approach panels often amplify dynamically induced forces. Some joints are not sealed and water with dissolved winter maintenance chemicals seeps through the joints, corroding metal and compromising concrete. The combination of heavy traffic and harsh conditions often causes the concrete surrounding the joint to fail. Attempts to patch with concrete or asphalt provide only temporary relief and often do not restore the ride or seal the joint. Since the joint is often the first component of the bridge to fail, an attractive strategy for extending the life of the bridge is to repair or replace the joint. However such work is challenging because it must often be performed under traffic necessitating lane closures. The high traffic counts that helped to cause the joint failure make the possibilities of lane closures undesirable. The undesirability can be mitigated by shortening the repair time and concentrating construction efforts at low traffic times such as weekends and evenings. However, completing the repair quickly and with necessary quality can be challenging. Several steps are involved. The existing metal components of the joint and the surrounding concrete must be removed. Reinforcing steel is often interwoven with joint parts and some joint may include steel plate that may be up to two inches thick. Accommodations must be made to allow reinforcing the repaired section and the existing section of the bridge to tie together. The new metal components must be set to line and grade properly and tied into the reinforcing system. Concrete must be formed, placed, and cured to the point that it can stand the pounding of traffic. Completing such an entire operation quickly can be difficult. For the foregoing reasons, it would be desirable to develop improved methods to rapidly repair and replace bridge deck joints. The objective of this investigation is to develop a rapid, effective, and economical approach to repairing and replacing bridge deck joints.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $5000000.00
  • Contract Numbers:


    ISU Proposal 120227

    Add 451

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Iowa Department of Transportation

    800 Lincoln Way
    Ames, IA  United States  50010
  • Project Managers:

    Nelson, James

  • Performing Organizations:

    Iowa State University, Ames

    Institute for Transportation Studies
    2711 S. Loop Drive, Suite 4700, Program for Sustainable Pavement Engineering and Research (PROSPER)
    Ames, IA  United States  50010-8864
  • Principal Investigators:

    Jahren, Charles

  • Start Date: 20130101
  • Expected Completion Date: 20200630
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 33351

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01543763
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Iowa Department of Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: RB33-013, ISU Proposal 120227, Add 451
  • Files: RIP, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: Nov 21 2014 1:04AM