D.S. Brown Blog

Versiflex™ Elastomeric and HLMR Bearing Assemblies support Gordie Howe International Bridge

Sep 21, 2023 8:54:02 AM / by D.S. Brown

The D.S. Brown Company has provided high-quality bearing assemblies and expansion joint systems for bridges around the globe since the early 1960s. D.S. Brown is proud to be supplying an extensive breadth of products to the current Gordie Howe International Bridge project between Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario.

Versiflex™ Elastomeric Bearing Assemblies and HLMR Disc Bearing Assemblies are key to the Gordie Howe’s main span and Versiflex™ Elastomeric and HLMR Bearing Assemblies and Steelflex® Modular Expansion Joint Assemblies are part of the I-75 & connector bridges. 

Gordie Howe International Bridge Facts

Once complete, the Gordie Howe International Bridge will be among the top five longest bridges in North America. Some of the key details of the Gordie Howe include:

  • Cable-stayed design
  • Six-lanes: three Canadian-bound, three US-bound
  • Total length is 2.5 kilometers / 1.5 miles.
  • Clear span of 853 meters / 0.53 miles - the longest main span of any cable-stayed bridge in North America
  • The bridge deck, known as the main span, will be located 42 meters/138 feet above the Detroit River.
  • No piers in the water
  • One approach bridge on each side of the crossing to connect Ports of Entry in Canada and the US
  • High powered LED Lighting will illuminate the bridge.
  • A dedicated multi-use path will have a green surface that is skid resistant and retro-reflective and that will accommodate pedestrians and cyclists.

The Gordie Howe International Bridge is a $5.7 Billion project named after Gordie Howe, a Canadian professional ice hockey player who played 26 seasons in the National Hockey League (1946 to 1980) including his first 25 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings. The bridge tower shape will reflect the curvature of a hockey stick in a slap shot.

Once complete, the Gordie Howe International Bridge will be the longest cable-stayed bridge span in North America. In addition, utilizing an environmentally friendly blend of recycled plastic and reclaimed wood fibers to build the deck, it will also be the longest composite-deck, cable-stayed bridge in the world.

D.S. Brown Structural Bearing Assemblies

D.S. Brown’s line of structural bearing assemblies have been providing heavy structure support to the world’s infrastructure for decades. Bridges and other large structures rely on bearing assemblies to transmit force while accommodating all structural movements.

Versiflex™ High-Load Multi-Rotational (HLMR) Pot and Disc, and Versiflex™ Elastomeric and Spherical Bearing Assemblies, have been critical to structure support for projects as diverse as Boston’s I-93 Central Artery “Big Dig” to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

“Products such as Versiflex™ HLMR bearings are suited for curved or skewed bridges and complex structures where the direction of rotation varies or cannot be precisely determined,” D.S. Brown National Sales Manager Ben Jacobus said. “Our team is experienced and available to work closely with bridge owners and engineering design consultants to assist in the design, selection and testing of the proper structural bearing assemblies.”

Selecting the Bearing Assembly

The selection of an appropriate bearing assembly for a project is based on the magnitude of vertical and horizontal forces transmitted through the bearing assembly, as well as the amount of displacement and rotation of the superstructure elements. Special attention to the bearing assembly design may be necessary when, for example, larger than normal horizontal loading or uplift situations exist.

D.S. Brown is one of the leading suppliers of structural bearing assemblies. With extensive experience and utilizing the latest technologies, D.S. Brown can efficiently design, manufacture and test Versiflex™ HLMR pot and disc style, spherical, as well as, elastomeric for all types of construction.

Versiflex™ HLMR Disc Bearing Assemblies

Versiflex™ HLMR Disc Bearing Assemblies consist of an elastomeric disc made of unconfined polyether-urethane polymer to accommodate rotation between two metal plates. The vertical loads are transferred by the elastomeric disc. Horizontal shear forces are transmitted between upper and lower plates by a dowel pin mechanism in the center of the bearing.

What are the advantages of Versiflex™ HLMR Disc Bearing Assemblies? Versiflex™ HLMR Disc Bearing Assemblies are multi-rotational, they have a lower profile (vertical height) and are cost efficient.

Bearing Assemblies Projects

Versiflex™ bearing assemblies can be found on infrastructure from coast to coast in the United States. Examples include the Blennerhassett Bridge in Parkersburg, West Virginia, the High Five Interchange in Dallas, Texas, the Bobsled and Luge Facility in Lake Placid, New York, Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the Boston I-93 Central Artery “Big Dig”, the Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge in New Haven, Connecticut, the Champlain Bridge in Chimney Point, Vermont, the San Rafael Bridge in Richmond, California, the Dolphin-Palmetto Interchange in Miami-Dade County, Florida and the Walt Whitman Bridge in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

D.S. Brown has designed and engineered structural movement, protection and repair solutions for the world’s bridges, highways, and airfields for more than 130 years and has been providing structural bearing assemblies and joint seals for bridges since 1963.

The D.S. Brown team is always available to work closely with bridge owners and engineering design consultants to assist in the design, selection and testing of each of these high-quality structural bearing assemblies.

About the D.S. Brown Company

The D.S. Brown Company was founded in 1890 and designs, supplies, and manufactures engineered rubber, steel and concrete products for the transportation and infrastructure sector. D.S. Brown’s proprietary product line includes expansion joints, structural bearings, and waterproofing systems for constructing and rehabilitating highways and bridges. D.S. Brown’s home office and manufacturing facilities are in North Baltimore, Ohio.

D.S. Brown is fully integrated, performing and controlling all manufacturing processes internally including:

  • Research and Development
  • Engineering Design/CAD Detailing
  • Extruding, Molding and Testing
  • Custom Steel Fabrication and Machining

D.S. Brown has the most comprehensive product line serving the transportation industry. We manufacture solutions for the most challenging infrastructure applications. Our high-quality engineered products are available worldwide for new construction and rehabilitation of bridges, highways, airfields, pavements, and parking structures.

  • Bridges: Since the early 1960s, D.S. Brown has provided expansion joint systems and specialty products for bridges around the globe.
  • Pavements: Building highways and airport pavements to last is a challenging engineering assignment, especially when the pavement must withstand heavy traffic, weather extremes, debilitating fuels and de-icing chemicals. You need reliable products with a proven track record.
  • Architectural: D.S. Brown provides a variety of expansion joint products for parking garages and other architectural applications.

Connect With D.S. Brown

Connect with our D.S. Brown bridge products representatives – Ben JacobusBrent Toller and Mark Francis.

Find information about D.S. Brown products, projects and other resources on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.


Tags: bridges, disc bearing assembly, structural bearing assembly

D.S. Brown

Written by D.S. Brown

D.S. Brown Sales and Engineering Teams.