Filter Fabrics: Growing Use in Road and Highway Construction

by Eugene E. Dallaire, Assoc. Editor; Civil Engineering Magazine, New York, NY 10017,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1976, Vol. 46, Issue 5, Pg. 61-65

Document Type: Feature article


Filter fabrics are seeing increasing use in road and highway construction; and promise to see greatly expanded use in the near future. A rapidly growing use is in constructing longitudinal subsurface drains beneath roadway shoulders. Conventional drains, consisting of a perforated pipe laid in a trench backfilled with aggregate, have often clogged; soil fines move into the aggregate or pipe and plug it up. This can be prevented by first lining the trench with filter fabric, then placing the aggregate; often, the pipe can be eliminated. The fabric permits passage of water while holding back soil fines. Filter fabrics have also been popular in constructing temporary roads over muddy soils. If aggregate is spread directly on the soft soil, the soil pumps itself up into the aggregate, making it a less effective medium for spreading out surface loads. If filter fabric is rolled directly on the soil first, then the aggregate placed on top of that, the fabric prevents intermingling of soil and aggregate. This article gives more than a dozen case histories of where and why filter fabrics were used in highway-related projects.

Subject Headings: Fabrics | Aggregates | Filters | Highways and roads | Infrastructure construction | Trenches | Subsurface drainage

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