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Link Slabs in Highway 17 over Battle River Bridge


Project achievements were:

Eliminating all four expansion joints using innovative link slab and semi-integral abutment details. To our knowledge the link slabs are the first that used hooked steel fibres in an exposed concrete deck in Saskatchewan/Alberta. The link slabs are performing well after 3 years in-service;

The service life of the 56-year old structure was extended by 40+ years and reduced the carbon footprint of the bridge by salvaging most bridge elements.

Leaking water through bridge deck expansion joints is one of the leading causes for bridge deterioration and results in high priority, costly, and challenging repairs to the bridge elements below them. Using life cycle cost analysis, semi-integral abutments and link slabs at the piers were the most practical and cost-effective solutions.

Although many jurisdictions utilize semi-integral abutments to eliminate abutment joints, the use of link slabs to eliminate pier joints does not share the same popularity. Although the link slab concept is not new, a lack of historical performance data has made some bridge owners reluctant to use this concept. Through our extensive research and careful design, we encouraged the client to proceed with link slabs.

In additional to the semi-integral abutment conversion and link slab installation, the following repairs were also completed:

Partial depth deck rehabilitation and deck widening;

Girder strengthening to support new standard design vehicles

Upgraded bridge and approach railings to current standards; and

Lifted superstructure to facilitate substructure repairs and a bearing replacement.

Some of the unique, challenging, innovative, environmental, and sustainable achievements on this project were:

Eliminating all expansion joints using innovative link slab details. To our knowledge, these are the first link slabs that have used hooked fibre reinforced concrete in the exposed concrete deck. These details will significantly improve the exposure condition of the underlying elements from chlorides and moisture. This will extend the service life of the bridge and reduce future costs. After being in-service for three-years, the link slabs are performing well with no visible signs of leakage.

Extending the service life of a 56-year old structure by 40+ years;

Reducing the carbon footprint of the bridge by salvaging most of a 56-year old structure rather than disposing of it and fabricating new bridge elements. The existing elements were repaired, modified, or strengthened to improve their condition, functionality, and service life.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Transportation Structures (PS)
DeGrow, Kelvin