Dowels are inserted at the mid-depth of joints in jointed concrete pavements that are exposed to heavy loading to provide load transfer and reduce pumping and faulting. Dowel alignment tolerances in North America have traditionally been strict, although not based on substantial performance data. In this paper, new laboratory testing methods are proposed for evaluation of the effects of dowel misalignment on concrete joint behavior. In these tests, dowels with various levels of rotations and translations were subjected to pullout and shear loading. It was found that dowel misalignment does not have a significant effect on pullout and shear forces for certain ranges of misalignments, which far exceed the tolerances recommended by the Federal Highway Administration. At the same time, it was found that extreme cases and combinations of misalignment resulted in a significant decrease in initial stiffness and shear capacity. Therefore, there is a need for the establishment of rational alignment tolerances. The results of this study provide important information for the development of such tolerances.
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