Use of MSE Technology to Stabilize Highway Embankments and Slopes in Oklahoma
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Use of MSE Technology to Stabilize Highway Embankments and Slopes in Oklahoma

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    • Alternative Title:
      Use of Mechanically Stabilized Earth Technology to Stabilize Highway Embankments and Slopes in Oklahoma
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      Final; Aug. 2008-Sept. 2009.
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    • Abstract:
      Departments of transportation across the U.S., including ODOT, are invariably faced with a persistent problem of landslides and slope failures along highways. Repairs and maintenance work associated with these failures cost these agencies millions of dollars annually. An ideal solution for the construction or repair of slopes and embankments is to use large quantities of coarse-grained, free-draining soils to stabilize these structures. However, such soils are not readily available in Oklahoma and many other parts of the U.S. Consequently, the production and transportation costs for these materials can be prohibitive amounting to millions of dollars annually. A possible solution to this problem would be to use locally available soils that are of marginal quality (e.g. soils with more than 15% fines content) but are significantly less expensive. However, the pullout capacity of reinforcement in reinforced soil slopes constructed with marginal soils can decrease as a result of increase in the soil moisture content. The loss of matric suction and excess pore water pressure as a result of compaction or prolonged precipitation during construction or service life of the structure can jeopardize the stability of structure or lead to excessive deformation. Current design guidelines for reinforced soil slopes in North America do not account for the reduction in the interface strength due to increased moisture content. This study is aimed at developing a moisture reduction factor (MRF) to account for the influence of moisture content on the soil-geosynthetic reinforcement interface strength in reinforced soil structures constructed with marginal soils. In this one-year study, MRF values were determined for an Oklahoma marginal soil and a woven geotextile reinforcement material through large-scale and small-scale pullout tests. The tests were carried out at three different moisture content values: optimum moisture content (OMC), OMC+2% and OMC-2%. It was found that the strength of soil-geotextile reinforcement interface constructed at OMC-2% could decrease by as much as 20%-40% when the soil moisture content is increased to OMC+2%. The outcome of this long-term study will assist ODOT and other departments of transportation in the U.S. to include the influence of soil moisture content in their stability analysis and design of reinforced soil structures to repair, stabilize and reconstruct slopes composed of marginal soils along the transportation corridors in the U.S.
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