IntroductionIntegral Bridge Concepts
An integral bridge may be defined as having no expansion joints or sliding bearings, the deck is continuous across the length of the bridge. Integral bridges are alternatively referred to as integral abutment bridges, joint less bridges, integral bent bridges and rigid-frame bridges. Semi-integral or integral back wall bridges typically have sliding bearings, but no expansion joints. Expansion joints and bearings have traditionally been used to accommodate the seasonal thermal expansion and contraction of bridge decks. The use of an integral abutment eliminates the need for deck joints and expansion bearings. The absence of joints and bearings significantly reduces costs during construction. Maintenance costs are also reduced since deck joints, which allow water to leak onto substructure elements and accelerate deterioration, are not needed. In addition, future widening or bridge replacement becomes easier, since the simple design of the integral abutment lends itself to simple structural modification.
Advantages of integral bridges:
- Simplified details for construction.
- Reduced life cycle cost and long time maintenance.
- Improved design efficiency, improved riding quality.
- Added redundancy with improved seismic performance.
- Ease in construction embankments.
- Elimination of water leakage on critical structural elements.
- Lesser tolerance restriction due to elimination of bearings and expansion joints.
- Simplified widening and replacement detail and useful in strengthening of existing bridges.
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