The Importance of Expansion Joints in Bridge Preservation
Expansion joints are an integral part of any bridge. These joints provide the bridge with the flexibility it needs to handle the constant expansion and shrinkage due to temperature changes and other external forces. In addition to being functional, expansion joints also help preserve the structural integrity of bridges by preventing damage from occurring below deck. It is for this reason that maintenance of expansion joints are included as part of bridge preservation plans.
Types of Expansion Joints
There are a variety of different types of expansion joints available, depending on the application. Most expansion joints bond to a concrete nosing. The most common type is a compression seal for small movement expansion joints. Other types include finger-type, gland seal, and asphaltic plug joints. Each type has its own advantages and should be chosen based on the individual application needs with consideration for maintenance and repairs when expansion joint seals or the concrete nosing fails.
Functional Aspects of Expansion Joints
Expansion joints have several functional aspects that make them essential in bridge preservation plans. First, they allow for movement between sections while still ensuring structural integrity. This is important because bridges are constantly expanding and shrinking due to temperature changes and other external forces. Without expansion joints, the force from these expansions and shrinkages can cause stress on the bridge structure, leading to cracks or even collapse in extreme cases.
Expansion joints also help prevent corrosion by protecting the substructure of the bridge from water and chloride intrusion. Lastly, expansion joints act as shock absorbers for vehicles crossing bridges by absorbing some of the kinetic energy from impacts such as heavy trucks or trains passing over them.
Importance in Bridge Preservation Plans
Expansion joints are an essential component in any bridge preservation plan because they provide flexibility while preserving structural integrity and preventing corrosion or damage from occurring over time. A good bridge preservation plan should include regular inspection and maintenance of all existing expansion joint systems as well as consideration for future expansion joint system repairs when necessary. This will ensure that bridges remain safe and structurally sound for years to come.