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🎥 Bearing Replacement: a critical maintenance operation that requires specialized techniques 🍃

As the design life of a bearing is lower than that of the overall structure, the replacement of bearings should be considered as a regular maintenance operation for bridges.

However, this intervention is not without its challenges: not all bridges are designed for easy maintenance, and they often have not been detailed to allow replacement. A bridge bearing might encounter several pathologies such as deformation, corrosion, concrete damage….

Key engineering challenges of such an intervention

The success of the whole operation hinges on a strategic integration of methods, access, and equipment.
This specialized maintenance undertaking necessitates the following key considerations:

  • Ensuring deck fixity.
  • Checking Structure for Different Loading Points
  • Providing Adequate Clearance for Various Works, including bearing removal and installation, concrete demolition and reconstruction works.
  • Developing a method and access plan for the bearing replacement operation, including specialised temporary works, and jacks handing operations.
  • Ensuring proper filling of new plinths.

Technical solutions and jacking systems

Many factors are taken into account, in particular:

1. Bearing Selection: Each bearing is meticulously designed to meet project-specific requirements and location constraints, considering variables such as vertical and horizontal loads, rotation, and more.

2. Jacking system considerations: jacks are meant to transfer the loads, lift the bridge and create space for the operation. The type, number, and location of jacks are determined by loads and spatial constraints. Jacking systems can range from simple setups to sophisticated computerized hydraulic systems with a multitude of connected jacks, allowing for individual control of stroke and force.

Slavica Krstic