Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering


Civil Engineering (Structural Engineering)

First Advisor

Brent Phares


Bridge deck expansion joints are the components of the bridge that help to accommodate for the movement of bridges due to thermal expansion and, to a lesser extent, dynamic loading. They may also serve to help prevent the passage of de-icing chemicals and other corrosives applied to bridge decks from penetrating and damaging bridge substructure components. Expansion joints are often one of the first components of a bridge deck to fail, and may require multiple replacements throughout the life of the bridge. These replacements are seen as critical to extending bridge life and protecting the substructure components.

Currently, the replacement of an expansion joint can take anywhere from a few days to multiple weeks. These replacements typically involve extensive traffic interference and lane closure. Therefore, there is a need for accelerated replacement options and techniques, especially in areas with high annual average daily traffic (AADT) and limited time for lane closures.

Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) has gained increasing momentum over recent years and is creating a permanent shift in how bridge construction is performed. ABC techniques focus on ways to reduce lane closures and many times utilize precast components. To date, however, there has been little research into using ABC techniques for expansion joint repair and replacement. The research summarized herein focuses on developing such methods for accelerated joint replacements.

Through the course of this research, a literature review was conducted and methods for an accelerated expansion joint replacement were developed. The combination of a stainless steel railing and UHPC header with hydrodemolition was evaluated for its effectiveness as an accelerated option.

The proposed replacement method involves high initial costs and required evaluation of its economic viability. A life cycle cost analysis with a sensitivity study compared the proposed replacement to current practices and two alternative methods. This analysis revealed that for bridges with a life of greater than 50 years, the proposed replacement was the most cost effective option.

The proposed replacement joint also underwent bonding, static, and fatigue testing in the ISU structures laboratory. Hydrodemolition was also used in the replacement process of the testing. These tests indicated that the joint system utilizing hydrodemolition produces an excellent bond with the existing concrete. The static and fatigue testing revealed the joint system meets DOT standards and would likely have a long service life.


Copyright Owner

Kara Ruble



File Format


File Size

83 pages