Is there test report available to show when is steel cover plate needed to cover open joint on concrete barrier?

#7850 November 11, 2020 Alex Lim ( [email protected]) Oregon
Bridge Railings

In general, open joint is set at 2in for bridge rail and does not require steel cover plate to cover the gap. But I cannot find or locate test reports to confirm that when is cover plate require to prevent snagging? There is a general rule of thumb that maximum of 4in gap is allowed before cover plate is needed.

  1. Nathan Schulz ( [email protected]) Texas A&M Transportation Institute


    There have been several bridge rails with a 2-inch open joint that have been successfully crash tested according to MASH. These systems can be found on the Hardware Tested page on the Roadside Safety Pooled Fund website. Since these systems have performed acceptably, we would agree that any open joint of 2 inches or less would be acceptable without a steel cover plate. TTI is not aware of bridge rail systems that have been evaluated according to MASH with an open joint larger than 2 inches. TTI has not developed any guidance or recommendations for the use of a steel cover plate with open joints larger than 2 inches. Additionally, we are not aware of other research that has been conducted to address this topic. Thus, we would recommend a new research effort to develop recommendations and guidance for using steel cover plates with open joints larger than 2 inches.

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