Implementation of Recommendations for Eliminating Longitudinal Median Joints in wide Bridges

Longitudinal bridge deck joints are commonly used in cases where the roadway carries a larger than typical number of traffic lanes. The Iowa DOT requires the use of longitudinal bridge joints in wide bridges with the hopes of reducing/eliminating the cracking that has been observed in wide bridges constructed without longitudinal joints. The longitudinal joints are thought to provide relief from expansion and contraction of the bridge deck due to temperature change, shrinkage, and life loads. Historically, however, these joints have been known to leak, allowing chloride-laden water to reach the bottom of the deck overhang and even the exterior girders. This has caused cases of premature deterioration. The problem is most severe when the joint is narrow and/or located between median barrier rails where this water can be trapped for long periods of time. Weathering steel bridges are particularly sensitive to this situation as the protective patina may never naturally form. This is a situation where the elimination of one problem (cracking associated with wide bridges) has created a second problem (a problematic longitudinal joint).

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Task 1: Meet with the Project’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) to Review the Project Scope and Work Plan and Have subsequent Quarterly Meetings Task 2: Literature Review Task 3: Field Instrumentation of Viking Road over IA58 Bridge Task 4: Preparation of Draft Final Report


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Contract Numbers:

    Addendum 660


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Iowa Department of Transportation

    800 Lincoln Way
    Ames, IA  United States  50010
  • Managing Organizations:

    Iowa State University, Ames

    Center for Transportation Research and Education
    2711 South Loop Drive, Suite 4700
    Ames, IA  United States  50010-8664
  • Project Managers:

    Goetz, Vanessa

  • Principal Investigators:

    Phares, Brent

    Freeseman, Katelyn

  • Start Date: 20180701
  • Expected Completion Date: 20220630
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

  • TRT Terms: Bridge design
  • Subject Areas: Bridges and other structures;

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01674869
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Iowa Department of Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: Addendum 660, TR-752
  • Files: RIP, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: Jul 9 2018 11:16AM