Rock slope design guide.
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Rock slope design guide.

  • 2011-04-01

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  • Abstract:
    This Manual is intended to provide guidance for the design of rock cut slopes, rockfall catchment, and

    rockfall controls. Recommendations presented in this manual are based on research presented in Shakoor

    and Admassu (2010) entitled “Rock Slope Design Criteria” (State Job Number 134325), previous FHWA

    co-sponsored research, and the experience of the Office of Geotechnical Engineering (OGE). These

    guidelines should be viewed as the presentation of the philosophy of the OGE regarding rock cut slope

    and catchment design. It is not possible to provide design guidance for all potential scenarios. If a

    scenario is encountered that falls outside those described in this manual, the design is recommended to be

    done in consultation with the OGE or District Geotechnical Engineer (DGE).

    The Designer is responsible for preparing a design that is based on a site-specific geotechnical exploration

    and achieves the optimal balance of safety, construction costs, and future maintenance costs. The use of

    “template” designs shall be avoided. Instead, the designer shall use appropriate information regarding the

    site geology, slope of the natural hillside, and the condition of cut slopes in similar geology within

    proximity to the project to determine the appropriate slope configuration. The designed configuration will

    be influenced by lithology, rock properties, and bedrock structure. Research and experience has shown

    that a consistent design methodology can be formulated by using properties such as intact rock strength,

    rock durability, fracture frequency, regional joint characteristics, and other common rock properties.

    The design approach first satisfies the overall global stability of the rock cut. It is recognized that in

    nearly all cases typical geologic and geometric conditions exist throughout Ohio., namely nearly

    horizontally bedded sedimentary rock strata with a range of lithologies that include limestone, dolomite,

    sandstone, siltstone, shale, claystone and coal. In this Bulletin, those strata defined as shale in the ODOT

    Construction and Material Specifications (C&MS) Item 203.02.P are considered a rock type and are

    included in this manual. Based on practice, OGE experience, and results of research (Woodard, 2004;

    Shakoor and Admassu, 2010), it is recognized that the primary cause of degradation and failure of rock

    cuts in Ohio are the differences in durability of rock units and intersecting discontinuities found

    throughout Ohio. The design approach presented in this manual accounts for these differences in

    durability of geologic units as well as anticipated geologic structure encountered in most rock cuts in


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