Interceptor Drains in Heavy Clay Soils

by Malcolm L. Steinberg, (M.ASCE), Sr. Res. Engr.; Texas Highway Dept., San Antonio, TX,

Serial Information: Transportation Engineering Journal of ASCE, 1970, Vol. 96, Issue 1, Pg. 1-9

Document Type: Journal Paper


Interceptor drains, properly placed, help reduce swells in heavy clay soils. In San Antonio and Bexar County, subsurface water and the heavy clays have occasionally resulted in swelling that reveals itself through pronounced vertical displacement of pavements. On a recent San Antonio urban expressway construction project, precautionary methods helped locate a localized swell before pavement placement. The growth and limits of the swell were measured. Drilling, sampling, laboratory testing and recording of water levels of several test holes took place. The areas of high subsurface water and heavy clays along with the swell in the roadway area determined the location of the underdrains. Two lines were placed, with two underdrain pipes each. After location through the interception areas they were joined to a double discharge outlet. The pavements have been placed and the project is open to traffic. Checking for pavement displacement is continuing. At present the underdrains seem to be functioning and there is apparently no perceptible pavement distress in the area.

Subject Headings: Drainage | Clays | Expansive soils | Groundwater | Soil water | Displacement (mechanics) | Highways and roads | Laboratory tests | Texas | United States

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