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IGGA Releases White Paper on Dowel Bar Retrofit

A construction worker places dowel bars in pavement.

Dowel bar retrofit (DBR) was created in the 1970s as an affordable, effective way to extend the life of concrete pavement. IGGA’s new white paper delves into DBR, including the history of its development and its evolution into a widely used concrete pavement preservation (CPP) technique.

DBR restores load transfer across joints and cracks. By linking slabs using DBR, traffic load is shared, preventing differential vertical movement of slabs at the joints and cracks and eliminating the formation of faults or step offs.

DBR Beginnings

Georgia initiated a research project in 1980 to evaluate various load transfer devices proposed by the FHWA. Dowel bars were determined to be the best solution, nearly doubling pavement life compared to pavement that was not retrofitted. Soon after, similar research began in Washington and that state saw the first high-production, large-scale DBR project, which was constructed in 1993. Since then, many states have followed suit.

DBR Proves Effective for CPP

Continued research has repeatedly shown improved concrete pavement performance, including very low levels of slot-related distress, after DBR.

The IGGA white paper demonstrates how states across the nation–including Oklahoma, Minnesota, South Dakota, Utah and Texas–leverage DBR for cost-effective CPP. Today, millions of dowel bars have been installed internationally and DBR is broadly recognized as a highly effective solution for long-term pavement preservation.

Read the white paper, “Dowel Bar Retrofits: The History of Repairing Faulted Pavements,” here.


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