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Soil geohazard mapping for improved asset management of UK local roads

Sep 18, 2015

Abstract

Unclassified roads comprise 60 % of the road network in the United Kingdom (UK). The resilience of this locally important network is declining. It is considered by the Institution of Civil Engineers to be “at risk” and is ranked 26th in the world. Many factors contribute to the degradation and ultimate failure of particular road sections. However, several UK local authorities have identified that in drought conditions, road sections founded upon shrink/swell susceptible clay soils undergo significant deterioration compared with sections on non-susceptible soils. This arises from the local road network having little, if any structural foundations. Consequently, droughts in East Anglia have resulted in millions of pounds of damage, leading authorities to seek emergency governmental funding.

This paper assesses the use of soil-related geohazard assessments in providing soil- informed maintenance strategies for the asset management of the locally important road network of the UK. A case study draws upon the UK administrative county of Lincolnshire, where road assessment data have been analysed against mapped clay-subsidence risk. This reveals a statistically significant relationship between road condition and susceptible clay soils. Furthermore, incorporation of UKCP09 future climate projections within the geohazard models has highlighted roads likely to be at future risk of clay-related subsidence.

Soil geohazard mapping for improved asset management of UK local roads. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 15: 2079-2090. DOI: 10.5194/nhess-15-2079-2015

Authors

Pritchard, O.G., Hallett, S.H. and Farewell, T.S.

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