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Efforts towards achieving widespread product specification across Europe in relation to bridge expansion joints have had mixed results to date, resulting in periodic modifications to the approval process that manufacturers such as mageba must always take into account. In 2013, European Technical Approval Guideline ETAG 032, “Expansion Joints for Road Bridges”, was issued by the European Organization for Technical Assessment (EOTA) as a basis for expansion joint manufacturers to gain a European Technical Approval. However, in mid-2013, the construction product regulation introduced a process for European Technical Assessments, ETAG 032 was replaced by a number of European Assessment Documents (EAD) which may be used by manufacturers to obtain a European Technical Assessment (the current meaning of the initialism “ETA”). These EADs are as follows:
120093-00-0107: Flexible asphaltic plug expansion joints for road bridges
120109-00-0107: Nosing expansion joint for road bridges
120110-00-0107: Mat expansion joint for road bridges
120111-00-0107: Cantilever expansion joints for road bridges
120112-00-0107: Supported expansion joints for road bridges
120113-00-0107: Modular expansion joints for road bridges
These EADs provide a more comprehensive specification for the technical assessment of expansion joints, paving the way for more ETAs to be granted for various types of expansion joint. This new level of assessment of expansion joints significantly exceeds any other common national specification for expansion joints in Europe or on an international level, especially in relation to the very demanding field and laboratory testing specified. For example, over-rolling tests using trucks on specially prepared test specimens, with statistical evaluation of data measured during the testing, serve as a viable basis for the assessment of the dynamic behaviour and fatigue design of the tested expansion joint.
Other examples include fatigue testing and wear testing of components and subsystems for the assessment of fatigue resistance and durability, and full-scale kinematic testing to prove movement capacity. Examples of such testing in relation to the especially demanding assessment of mageba’s TENSA®MODULAR expansion joint are shown in the photos, and further details can be found in this mageba paper presented at the 2020 Istanbul Bridge Conference.
At mageba, we welcome this new development as a better basis for the assessment of expansion joint performance, recognising that the resulting expansion joints will be far more robust and durable than those that are designed to comply with any other widely used standard. Higher standards benefit society both economically and environmentally, by minimising expansion joint maintenance and replacement works on bridges and reducing associated traffic disruption, so anything that improves the quality and durability of expansion joints should be welcomed by all. And for a manufacturer like mageba, which has focused on innovation, quality and testing for decades already, this new assessment and approval regime is another opportunity for us to differentiate ourselves from the other suppliers for whom the new requirements will be much more demanding.