Bridging the Joints in Bridges

by Howard Smallowitz, Assoc. Ed.; Civil Engineering—ASCE, 345 East 47th St., New York, NY 10017,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1986, Vol. 56, Issue 11, Pg. 43-45

Document Type: Feature article


Most bridges are designed with gaps in them. The cracks allow bridges to expand and contract as the temperature changes. But water can enter these gaps and foul bearings and structural steel. Much effort and money has been spent to seal these gaps, but many of the efforts were wasted. Designers, manufacturers and contractors blame each other for the problems of leaky joints. In fact, all probably share the blame. Designers need to treat joints as an essential element of the bridge, not an accessory. Makers must improve the quality of their joints. And contractors, the most maligned of the group, need to exercise greater care in their installation.

Subject Headings: Bridge design | Joints | Bridges | Contractors and subcontractors | Cracking | Temperature effects | Steel structures | Structural steel

Services: Buy this book/Buy this article


Return to search