Selection of Bridge Deck joint Seals in Louisiana


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Title: Selection of Bridge Deck joint Seals in Louisiana

Author(s): Joe T. Baker, Richard W. Kinchen, and Norval P. Knapp

Publication: Special Publication

Volume: 70


Appears on pages(s): 489-507

Keywords: bridge decks; chloroprene resins; control joints; durability; joint sealers; joints (junctions); mechanical properties; sealing; seepage; specifications .

Date: 1/1/1981

In the decade of the '70s, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development began sealing almost all its bridge deck joints to stop leakage and thus prevent structural and aesthetic degeneration of its sub-structures. Research sponsored by the State and Federal Governments revealed that neoprene compression seals out-performed pourable ones in sealing bridge deck joints two inches (five cm) or less in width. Technology then lured the Department towards longer span lengths susceptible to greater thermal- and deflection-related movements. Industry took the hint and responded with an array of metal-reinforced or metal-retained neoprene joint assemblies intended to accommodate bridge movement in a watertight fashion. By 1979 the Department had specified approximately a dozen different models of these proprietary bridge deck joint assemblies, observed both good and bad field performance therefrom, and knew that additional products would yet be marketed. The Department then resolved that a joint state and federal team would be formed to (1) evaluate the sealing properties, rideability, and maintenance requirements of available joint seal systems, (2) develop and maintain a qualified products list for the subject seal systems, and (3) develop and maintain a standard plan listing approved seals, installation procedures, and other necessary notes. This team concept has been implemented, with members representing design through maintenance. Although in its infancy, the idea holds great promise as a clearinghouse for communications and decisions regarding bridge deck joint seal sys terns.