Treatment of Karst Along Tennessee Highways

by Harry Moore, Tennessee DOT, Knoxville, TN, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Geotechnical Aspects of Karst Terrains: Exploration, Foundation Design and Performance, and Remedial Measures


The construction and maintenance of highways in karst areas of East Tennessee has resulted in the occurrence and treatment of induced sinkholes along the ditchlines of numerous highways. Due to the geologic conditions prevelant in the Ridge and Valley province, belts of karst areas are frequently crossed by transportation corridors. Roadways constructed in these karst areas have repeatedly resulted in the development of sinkholes along the ditchlines. The collapse features occur where the pinnacle-soil interface is breached by the ditchline excavation and the resultant ditchline is untreated. Treatment of the sinkholes usually involves bridging of the collapse with chunk rock backfill and treating the ditchline with an impervious material. Geotechnical input at the design phase has resulted in the treatment of the ditchlines in areas where highways are constructed across terrain prone to karst development.

Subject Headings: Karst | Infrastructure construction | Sinkholes | Highway engineering | Highway and road design | Highway and road management | Geology | Material failures | Tennessee | United States

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