Deck joints are a potential source of deterioration and maintenance problems in a bridge structure and have been identified as the most common maintenance problem in New Zealand road bridges. The performance of deck joints in New Zealand bridges was assessed by consulting road controlling authorities and by inspection of selected bridge structures. The suitability of use and application of deck joints was determined by comparison to current international best practice.
Deck joint types in use in New Zealand are similar to those used in the United Kingdom and North America. Correct installation of all joint types is critical to their long-term performance. The increasing use of asphaltic plug joints with reduced dimensions in comparison to overseas practice requires further investigation. Consideration should be given to adopting the international trend towards bridges being made continuous. United Kingdom Department of Transportation Standards provide the necessary guidelines for the use and selection of deck joints. An appendix to the Transit New Zealand bridge manual (1994) with appropriate reference notes that relate the standards to New Zealand conditions should be developed.
Keywords: bridge, bridge deck, bridge superstructure, deck joints, New Zealand, roads, traffic