Award-Winning Pavement Rehab Project Strengthens Partnership With Oklahoma Turnpike Authority

Congratulations to the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, which received an American Concrete Pavement Association (ACPA) Gold Award at the Oklahoma Concrete Pavement Conference for the H.E. Bailey Turnpike Dowel Bar Retrofit-Diamond Grind Pavement Rehabilitation. Learn about the team’s unconventional solutions to site-specific challenges along this heavily traveled highway.


The H.E. Bailey Turnpike, located southwest of Chickasha, Oklahoma, consisted of plain jointed portland cement concrete (PCC) pavement that showed significant deterioration including considerable longitudinal cracking and traverse joint settlement that caused poor surface conditions for driving.

Maintenance improvements called for a Dowel Bar Retrofit/Diamond Grind (DBR/Grind) pavement rehabilitation for the turnpike from Milepost 62 to Milepost 78. The Dowel Bar Retrofit establishes load transfer steel bars across the transverse joints followed by diamond grinding, which enhances pavement integrity at the joints, restores a smoother ride and provides proper drainage. In addition, numerous full-depth pavement patches were completed, and crack repairs and sealing were completed throughout the project.


The turnpike is heavily traveled through the area that needed upgrading, so proper traffic control and management were imperative for a successfully safe, successfully executed project. Some of the main challenges were:

  • Maintaining lane closure restrictions and being limited to working in 2-mile segments
  • Working during the middle of summer with temperature-sensitive materials
  • Having to pour concrete at night, which required long overnight shifts


Freese and Nichols provided inspection services using an Oklahoma Highway Materials certified materials lab and support staff capable of complete project coverage. Our team also devoted experienced roadway and material-certified inspectors to this project. DBR/Diamond Grind Pavement rehabilitation projects have highly detailed components that are critical to the success of the work and the long-term integrity of the repairs. Those steps include:

  • Verifying that the DBRs are cut and placed parallel to the centerline
  • Properly cleaning the slots prior to backfill
  • Following proper backfill concrete placement procedures
  • Maintaining properly mixed concrete backfill material
  • Adequately curing the patches and backfill material

These items while seemingly simple, are critical to the long-term integrity of the repaired areas for long-term success. Safety was a priority for both the public and the construction teams on-site. The team minimized traffic impacts using off-peak construction work hours and accelerated work near tolling facilities and gas/ food rest areas to increase driver acceptance, roadway operations and safety. ​​​​​​​


Freese and Nichols worked closely with the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority to provide a safe and cost-effective rehabilitation construction project design by developing unconventional solutions to site-specific challenges. Due to the success of this project, and the expertise of our team, we were selected to lead construction management on the next section of the H.E. Bailey Turnpike.