Field Observations from Saprolite Test Fills in High Rainfall Locations

Earthworks constructed with fine grained, over-wet residual soils (10% to up to 30% wetter than the optimum water content from the standard proctor test) are unique and site specific. This paper summarizes field observations from two saprolite test fill trials conducted at high rainfall locations (over 3000 mm average annual precipitation) in Latin America. Saprolite wetter than the optimum moisture content (based on standard proctor) was placed and compacted using various equipment and methods. Results of geotechnical site investigations are discussed, including: cone penetration and vane shear tests before and after construction, material characterization, laboratory and in-situ testing, and instrumentation monitoring (pore water pressures and settlement). An overview of the fill performance, challenges for material borrowing, surface water management, equipment utilization logistics, construction techniques, compaction control procedures for quality control and quality assurance (QC/QA) are described and linked to design objectives and criteria to provide guidance for future construction activities at these sites.

Barriga-Gallarday, H., J. Sanchez-Marrou, and G. Barquero-Guerrero. 2018. “Field Observations from Saprolite Test Fills in High Rainfall Locations,” in Proceedings of GeoEdmonton, Transportation Geotechnique – Moving Forward, 71st Canadian Geotechnical Conference and the 13th Joint CGS/IAH-CNC Groundwater Conference, Edmonton, Alberta, 24-26 September 2018. Edmonton, AB: Canadian Geotechnical Society.

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