Marquette University, Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering
Wisconsin Department of Transportation
Contract or Grant Number
The present pavement selection policy of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) limits the design alternatives for Portland Cement Concrete (PCC) pavements and inhibits the designer's ability to select cross-sections deviating from uniform slab thicknesses with doweled transverse joints. Currently, uniform slab thicknesses and conventional joint load transfer devices are incorporated into the design based on the heavy truck traffic in the outer lane. While this strategy provides for adequate pavement structure in this truck lane to limit faulting and slab cracking to tolerable levels, there is a potential for over-design in other traffic lanes which receive significantly lower Equivalent Single Axle Load (ESAL) applications over the service life of the pavement.
Analysis of PCC pavement design alternatives, including variable slab thickness within and/or across traffic lanes, variable load transfer designs, and alternative base layer drainage desi gns, were completed. Based on the results of these analyses, four alternative dowel patterns were developed to reduce the number of dowel bars installed across transverse pavement joints. These patterns were developed to be consistent with dowel bar installation equipment currently used within the State of Wisconsin while still providing necessary load transfer mechanisms in the wheel path areas of both travel lanes. In additional to dowel placement alternates, test sections were constructed using alternative dowel materials, including fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composite dowels, solid stainless steel dowels, and hollow core - mortar filled stainless steel dowels.
This report presents details relating to the design, construction, and first year performance of concrete pavement test sections constructed in the State of Wisconsin along STH 29 in Clark and Marathon Counties. These test sections were constructed during the Summer of 1997 to validate the constructability and cost-effectiveness of alternative concrete pavement designs incorporating variable dowel strategies and slab thicknesses.