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Geotechnical assessment of road failure and slope monitoring along Nsukka-Adoru-Idah highway, Southeastern Nigeria

Maduka, RaphaelIweanya, Igwe, Ogbonnaya, Ayogu, NnadozieOnyekachi, Ayogu, ChineroNneka, Nwachukwu, Martin
Environmental monitoring and assessment 2017 v.189 no.1 pp. 30
clay, models, monitoring, particle size distribution, sand, silt, specific gravity, water content, Nigeria
The quality of highway pavement is greatly influenced by the subgrade materials, the general geology of the area, and the materials used for construction. Investigation into the 75-km Nsukka-Adoru-Idah highway revealed that the pavement was underlain by three lithological units—Imo, Nsukka, and Ajali formations. The geotechnical evaluation carried out in the study includes the particle size distribution, Atterberg limit, specific gravity, compaction tests, and California bearing ratio (CBR). The base course has clay/silt (7–14%), fine sand (1–4%), medium sand (6–13%), and coarse sand (65–86%), while the subgrade presented clay/silt (74–82%), fine sand (6–9%), medium sand (10–17%), and coarse sand (1–3%). The average specific gravity results for the studied base course and subgrades are 2.58 and 2.52. Liquid limit (LL) result ranges from 27 to 60%, while plastic limit (PL) ranges between 17 and 24%, and plasticity index (PI) ranges from 5 to 39%. The maximum dry density (MDD) result ranges from 1.70 to 2.10 mg/m³, while the optimum moisture content (OMC) for the samples ranges between 14.1 and 18.0%. The CBR result for soaked and unsoaked samples ranges from 37 to 74 and 48 to 83%, respectively. The low unsoaked CBR (<80%) and high Atterberg limits (LL > 30% and PI > 12%) failed the stipulated Nigerian standard, signifying the need for stabilization. A geotechnical model of a highway road cut generated a factor of safety of 1.45, indicating possibility of slope failure.