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Asphalt Paving of Treated Timber Bridge Decks

About the Authors

Merv Eriksson has a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of North Dakota. He worked as a highway and bridge engineer with the U.S. Federal Highway Administration before joining the Forest Service's Northern Region in 1979 as a structural engineer. Eriksson was the leader of the bridge design and construction group from 1986 until 1997. He then joined MTDC and served as the technical coordinator for the Wood in Transportation program and managed a number of projects for the technology and development centers and the Forest Products Laboratory. Erikksson is now a project manager at DJ&A Engineering, P.C.

Homer Wheeler (retired) graduated from the Montana State University in 1959. When he retired from his 35-year career with the Montana Department of Transportation, he was assistant director of engineering. He worked another 6 years for the Strategic Highway Research program as the Southeast Region engineer for long-term pavement performance

Sharon Kosmalski, P.E., graduated from the University of Minnesota's Institute of Technology in 1993 with a degree in civil engineering. She began her Forest Service career in 1991 and has been involved in bridge design, construction, maintenance, and specialized inspections for three forests in three regions. Kosmalski was the bridge program manager and inspector-in-charge on the Payette National Forest. She is now a forest transportation engineer at the White River National Forest.

Library Card

Eriksson, Merv; Wheeler, Homer; Kosmalski, Sharon. 2003. Asphalt paving of treated timber bridge decks. Tech. Rep. 03712809PMTDC. Missoula, MT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Missoula Technology and Development Center. 30 p.

Provides guidance for designing timber decks and long-lasting asphalt paving systems. More treated timber bridges are being constructed in the United States now that the efficiencies of these bridges have been recognized. Asphalt pavement wearing surfaces applied to these bridges can enhance their long-term performance and reduce deck abrasion. Problems associated with the asphalt surfaces are due to deck flexibility and shrinkage, excess preservative treatment and asphalt, and incompatibility between the treatment and the paving system. Improper treatment and construction can contribute to problems. Proper timber treatment and correct bridge and pavement design will ensure economical, long-term pavement performance, while minimizing environmental problems. [Slightly revised November 2012.]

Keywords: adhesion, best management practices, cleaning, deflection, design, glued laminated, nail laminated, paving membranes, preservatives, shrinkage, safety at work, stress laminated, wood

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Single copies of this document may be ordered from:
USDA Forest Service, MTDC
5785 Hwy. 10 West
Missoula, MT 598089361
Phone: 4063293978
Fax: 4063293719

Electronic copies of MTDCs documents are available on the Internet at:

Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management employees can search MTDCs documents, CDs, DVDs, and videos on their internal computer networks at:

For additional technical information contact MTDC.
Phone: 4063293900
Fax: 4063293719

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