Reinforced Earth Bridges Highway Sinkhole

by Ronald S. Steiner, (A.M.ASCE), Design Liaison Engr.; Pennsylvania Dept. of Transportation, St. Davids, Penn.,
Edward J. Trojan, Dist. Soils Engr.; Pennsylvania Dept. of Transportation, St. Davids, Penn.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1975, Vol. 45, Issue 7, Pg. 54-56

Document Type: Feature article


Faced with an unusual sinkhole condition, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation decided to utilize a two-way reinforced earth slab in conjunction with a subsurface grouting program to stabilize a roadbed area. The reinforced earth slab proved to be less expensive and quicker to construct than a comparable concrete slab. Although the earth slab was designed to bridge a 50 ft (15.5 m) void, the grouting program would inhibit such a large void from forming. Extensive subsurface exploration, including development of an electronic resistivity profile, indicated conventional bridge structures could not be properly supported. Specially designed settlement and strain gages will monitor the slab's activity after construction.

Subject Headings: Highway bridges | Bridge design | Soil stabilization | Sinkholes | Grouting | Reinforced concrete | Voids | Subsurface environment

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