An insight into failures of bridge bearings and expansion joints in Australia

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Publication details

Ngo, H, Kotze, R & Ngo, H 2012, 'An insight into failures of bridge bearings and expansion joints in Australia', Proceedings of the Austroads 8th Bridge Conference: sustainable bridges: the thread of society, Austroads, Sydney, NSW. ISBN: 9781921709814.


In modern bridge structures, bridge bearings and expansion joints are commonly the source of most maintenance and performance issues. In some situations their performance can lead to the closure/failure of major structures, and their maintenance can be extremely difficult and costly to implement. Most of these problems can be overcome if robust design rules are implemented to ensure their design and construction deliver highly durable and reliable components, and that the lessons learnt from practice are fully addressed in the future maintenance. This paper is extracted from an Austroads project TS1600 'Design rules for bridge bearings and expansion joints'. The paper will present: (i) identified typical failure modes of various types of bearings and expansion joints observed in Australian current practice, (ii) key issues in design, manufacture, construction and maintenance of bridge bearings and expansion joints experienced by various State Road Authorities and local manufacturers/suppliers, and (iii) an investigation into failure modes of some common bridge bearing and expansion joint types as well as recommendations on the design, construction and/or maintenance solutions to overcome these identified issues.