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Publication Details

TechBrief: Best Practices for Dowel Placement Tolerances

General Interest: provides practical guidance to engineers responsible for the day-to-day design, construction, rehabilitation, maintenance, and management of pavements.

Primary Topic: Pavement Rehabilitation

Description: The use of appropriately sized dowel bars is highly recommended for jointed concrete pavements that are subjected to high volumes of heavy truck traffic (FHWA 1989; AASHTO 1993). Dowel bars provide positive load transfer across pavement joints to greatly reduce critical deflections and stresses, thereby reducing the potential for pumping and faulting at joints, as well as slab cracking. However, proper placement is critical to proper functioning of the dowel bars. Improper placement may not only reduce the effectiveness of dowel bars, but may also contribute to premature distresses, including joint spalling and slab cracking.

FHWA Publication Number: FHWA-IF-07-021

Publication Year: 2007

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Updated: 02/20/2015

United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration