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Road and bridge construction across gypsum karst in England

Cooper, Anthony; Saunders, Jonathan. 2002 Road and bridge construction across gypsum karst in England. Engineering Geology, 65 (2-3). 217-223. 10.1016/S0013-7952(01)00131-4

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Abstract/Summary

Gypsum karst problems in the Permian and Triassic sequences of England have caused difficult conditions for bridge and road construction. In Northern England, the Ripon Bypass crosses Permian strata affected by active gypsum karst and severe subsidence problems. Here, the initial borehole site investigation for the road was supplemented by resistivity tomography studies. The roadway was reinforced with two layers of tensile membrane material within the earth embankment. This will prevent dangerous catastrophic collapse, but will allow sagging to show where problems exist. The River Ure Bridge was constructed across an area of subsidence pipes filled with alluvial deposits. It was built with extra strength, larger than normal foundations. If one pier fails, the bridge is designed for adjacent arches to span the gap without collapse. The bridge piers are also fitted with electronic load monitoring to warn of failure. In the Midlands area of England, road construction over Triassic gypsum has required a phase of ground improvement on the Derby Southern Bypass. Here, the gypsum caps a hill where it was formerly mined; it dips through a karstic dissolution zone into an area of complete dissolution and collapse. The road and an associated flyover were built across these ground conditions. A major grouting program before the earthworks began treated the cavities in the mine workings and the cavernous margin of the gypsum mass. Within the karstic dissolution zone, gypsum blocks and cavities along the route were identified by conductivity and resistivity geophysical surveys, excavated and backfilled. In the areas of complete dissolution and collapse, the road foundation was strengthened with vibrated stone columns and a reinforced concrete road deck was used.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/S0013-7952(01)00131-4
Programmes: BGS Programmes > Geology and Landscape Southern
ISSN: 0013-7952
Additional Keywords: Road construction, Bridge construction, gypsum, karst, Permian, Triassic, subsidence, engineering geology, Ripon,
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Hydrology
Date made live: 19 Mar 2009 12:25
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/6742

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