Drivers in Broward recently spotted what appeared to be a gap on I-75, and experts say that’s not all it is.
The so-called “crack” has received a lot of attention on social media, but the Florida Department of Transportation says it’s completely safe.
Photos circulated on social media after a concerned driver pointed out a large gap at the exit along I-75 near 595 and the Sawgrass Expressway heading to Alligator Alley.
Looks a little intimidating – but it’s not a crack. It is called a compensator and is actually part of the highway structure.
Expansion joints, such as those on the segment bridge connecting I-595 and the Sawgrass Expressway in Broward, allow the bridge segments to expand and contract safely as temperatures change. This is what the joints look like. pic.twitter.com/HyoKpHxAyF
— FDOT District 4 (@MyFDOT_SEFL) July 17, 2023
“Expansion joints are included in all of our bridges, whether they are structural steel or concrete,” said Kelly Hall, FDOT District 4 Structural Maintenance Engineer. “They allow the bridge to move and expand as the temperature changes. Expansion joints allow the bridge to move in a more predictable and repeatable pattern, rather than cracking, as is common with concrete.”
FDOT engineers say they came to assess the area when they received several calls from concerned drivers. They confirmed it was safe and posted pictures of the compensator on this segmental bridge.
“All of our bridges are designed with expansion joints so that they expand at a certain point in the structure and thus limit damage to the structure when the temperature changes, whether it contracts when it gets colder or expands when it warms up. ‘, Hall said.
Hall says the expansion joints are made of either an expandable rubber material or a metal cone that expands and contracts as the bridge moves.
These junctions are very common along highways and have been around for some time.
“They were originally developed in 1986, and these gaps have been around since 1989,” Hall said. “We get a few concerns from the public every 6-12 months.”
Hall says the department is looking for some aesthetic solutions to the gaps.
“Maybe just a shield so we sort of assuage these customer concerns.”