This report contains the findings of a synthesis study on the use of link slabs to eliminate intermediate joints in bridges of Indiana. The study was conducted under the sponsorship of the Joint Transportation Research Program. The motivation for the study was to investigate this promising technique to mitigate the damage associated with expansion joints that has long been recognized as a persistent and costly issue negatively impacting the bridge service life.

The report summarizes the background information and motivation for the study. It also provides a description of the report organization. The results of an extensive literature review of DOTs’ experience related to the use of this system and main research findings are presented as well as construction practice and examples of application. The results of the analysis of a bridge in Indiana where the link slab system has been implemented are presented. The bridge connecting the State Road 68 over the Interstate 64 was selected as a representative bridge based on the analysis of the inspection.

A parametric study on the effects of various parameters was conducted to evaluate the effect of support conditions and debonded length on the stress distribution and potential crack initiation in link slabs. Each variable was investigated separately to isolate its effect. Two bridge structures were investigated in this study. The first structure (Case 1) represents a bridge structure rehabilitated using link slabs. A second bridge structure (Case 2) with the same geometrical and material properties, but with a continuous and fully bonded deck, was also included in the parametric study for comparison purposes. This structure simulated new bridge construction.

Report Number



bridge, concrete, fiber, performance, detailing, temperature effects, link slab, jointless bridges, bridge deck joints replacement, literature review, finite element

SPR Number


Performing Organization

Joint Transportation Research Program

Publisher Place

West Lafayette, IN

Date of this Version