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Advancements in Use of Geophysical Methods for Transportation Projects A Synthesis of Highway Practice Brent L. Rosenblad Andrew Z. Boeckmann University of MissoUri Columbia, MO 2020 Research sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration Subscriber Categories Highways â¢ Geotechnology â¢ Transportation, General N A T I O N A L C O O P E R A T I V E H I G H W A Y R E S E A R C H P R O G R A M NCHRP SYNTHESIS 547
Published reports of the NATIONAL COOPERATIVE HIGHWAY RESEARCH PROGRAM are available from Transportation Research Board Business Office 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 and can be ordered through the Internet by going to http://www.national-academies.org and then searching for TRB Printed in the United States of America NCHRP SYNTHESIS 547 Project 20-05, Topic 50-01 ISSN 0547-5570 ISBN 978-0-309-48137-3 Library of Congress Control Number 2020935974 Â© 2020 National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. COPYRIGHT INFORMATION Authors herein are responsible for the authenticity of their materials and for obtaining written permissions from publishers or persons who own the copyright to any previously published or copyrighted material used herein. Cooperative Research Programs (CRP) grants permission to reproduce material in this publication for classroom and not-for-profit purposes. Permission is given with the understanding that none of the material will be used to imply TRB, AASHTO, FAA, FHWA, FTA, GHSA, NHTSA, or TDC endorsement of a particular product, method, or practice. It is expected that those reproducing the material in this document for educational and not-for-profit uses will give appropriate acknowledgment of the source of any reprinted or reproduced material. For other uses of the material, request permission from CRP. Cover photo credit: Clinton Wood â University of Arkansas NOTICE The report was reviewed by the technical panel and accepted for publication according to procedures established and overseen by the Transportation Research Board and approved by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The opinions and conclusions expressed or implied in this report are those of the researchers who performed the research and are not necessarily those of the Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; the FHWA; or the program sponsors. The Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; and the sponsors of the National Cooperative Highway Research Program do not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade or manufacturersâ names appear herein solely because they are considered essential to the object of the report. NATIONAL COOPERATIVE HIGHWAY RESEARCH PROGRAM Systematic, well-designed, and implementable research is the most effective way to solve many problems facing state departments of transportation (DOTs) administrators and engineers. Often, highway problems are of local or regional interest and can best be studied by state DOTs individually or in cooperation with their state universities and others. However, the accelerating growth of highway transporta- tion results in increasingly complex problems of wide interest to high- way authorities. These problems are best studied through a coordinated program of cooperative research. Recognizing this need, the leadership of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) in 1962 ini- tiated an objective national highway research program using modern scientific techniquesâthe National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP). NCHRP is supported on a continuing basis by funds from participating member states of AASHTO and receives the full cooperation and support of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), United States Department of Transportation, under Agree- ment No. 693JJ31950003. The Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine was requested by AASHTO to administer the research program because of TRBâs recognized objectivity and understanding of modern research practices. TRB is uniquely suited for this purpose for many reasons: TRB maintains an extensive com- mittee structure from which authorities on any highway transportation subject may be drawn; TRB possesses avenues of communications and cooperation with federal, state, and local governmental agencies, univer- sities, and industry; TRBâs relationship to the National Academies is an insurance of objectivity; and TRB maintains a full-time staff of special- ists in highway transportation matters to bring the findings of research directly to those in a position to use them. The program is developed on the basis of research needs iden- tified by chief administrators and other staff of the highway and transportation departments, by committees of AASHTO, and by the FHWA. Topics of the highest merit are selected by the AASHTO Special Committee on Research and Innovation (R&I), and each year R&Iâs recommendations are proposed to the AASHTO Board of Direc- tors and the National Academies. Research projects to address these topics are defined by NCHRP, and qualified research agencies are selected from submitted proposals. Administration and surveillance of research contracts are the responsibilities of the National Academies and TRB. The needs for highway research are many, and NCHRP can make significant contributions to solving highway transportation problems of mutual concern to many responsible groups. The program, however, is intended to complement, rather than to substitute for or duplicate, other highway research programs.
The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, non- governmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to bring the practices of engineering to advising the nation. Members are elected by their peers for extraordinary contributions to engineering. Dr. John L. Anderson is president. The National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) was established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to advise the nation on medical and health issues. Members are elected by their peers for distinguished contributions to medicine and health. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president. The three Academies work together as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The National Academies also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding in matters of science, engineering, and medicine. Learn more about the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at www.national-academies.org. The Transportation Research Board is one of seven major programs of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The mission of the Transportation Research Board is to provide leadership in transportation improvements and innovation through trusted, timely, impartial, and evidence-based information exchange, research, and advice regarding all modes of transportation. The Boardâs varied activities annually engage about 8,000 engineers, scientists, and other transportation researchers and practitioners from the public and private sectors and academia, all of whom contribute their expertise in the public interest. The program is supported by state transportation departments, federal agencies including the component administrations of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and other organizations and individuals interested in the development of transportation. Learn more about the Transportation Research Board at www.TRB.org.
C O O P E R A T I V E R E S E A R C H P R O G R A M S AUTHOR ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Benjamin Rivers from FHWA was instrumental in assembling the survey contact list and personally requesting individual agency responses. The survey would not have achieved a high rate of response with- out his participation, which the authors greatly appreciate. Each of the following case example agency representatives graciously donated considerable amounts of time and information during discussion, review, and retrieval of agency records: John Jamerson and Amanda McElwain from New Jersey DOT; Paul Painter, Andrew Jalbrzikowski, and Chris Merklin from Ohio DOT; Carl Benson, Chaz Weaver, and Brian Bruckno from Virginia DOT; Jason Richter from Minnesota DOT; and Bill Owen from Caltrans. CRP STAFF FOR NCHRP SYNTHESIS 547 Christopher J. Hedges, Director, Cooperative Research Programs Lori L. Sundstrom, Deputy Director, Cooperative Research Programs Mariela Garcia-Colberg, Senior Program Officer Sheila A. Moore, Program Associate Eileen P. Delaney, Director of Publications Natalie Barnes, Associate Director of Publications NCHRP PROJECT 20-05 PANEL Joyce N. Taylor, Maine DOT, Augusta, ME (Chair) Socorro âCocoâ Briseno, California DOT (retired), Sacramento, CA Anita Bush, Nevada DOT, Carson City, NV Joseph D. Crabtree, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY Mostafa âMoeâ Jamshidi, Nebraska DOT, Lincoln, NE Cynthia L. Jones, Ohio DOT, Columbus, OH Jessie X. Jones, Arkansas DOT, Little Rock, AR Brenda Moore, North Carolina DOT, Raleigh, NC Ben Orsbon, South Dakota DOT, Pierre, SD Randall R. âRandyâ Park, Avenue Consultants, Bluffdale, UT Brian Worrel, Iowa DOT, Ames, IA Jack Jernigan, FHWA Liaison Jim McDonnell, AASHTO Liaison Stephen F. Maher, TRB Liaison TOPIC 50-01 PANEL Adebola Adelakun, Georgia DOT, Forest Park, GA Asif Ahmed, State University of New York Polytechnic Institute, Utica, NY Aneliya P. âAniâ Carignan, South Carolina DOT, Columbia, SC Madan Gaddam, Maryland State Highway Administration, Hanover, MD Nabil M. Hourani, HNTB Corporation, Boston, MA William P. Owen, California DOT, Sacramento, CA Jason L. Richter, Minnesota DOT, Maplewood, MN Benjamin S. Rivers, FHWA Liaison Nancy M. Whiting, TRB Liaison
ABOUT THE NCHRP SYNTHESIS PROGRAM Highway administrators, engineers, and researchers often face problems for which information already exists, either in documented form or as undocumented experience and practice. This infor- mation may be fragmented, scattered, and unevaluated. As a consequence, full knowledge of what has been learned about a problem may not be brought to bear on its solution. Costly research findings may go unused, valuable experience may be overlooked, and due consideration may not be given to recommended practices for solving or alleviating the problem. There is information on nearly every subject of concern to highway administrators and engineers. Much of it derives from research or from the work of practitioners faced with problems in their day- to-day work. To provide a systematic means for assembling and evalu ating such useful information and to make it available to the entire highway community, the American Association of State High- way and Transportation Officialsâthrough the mechanism of the National Cooperative Highway Research Programâauthorized the Transportation Research Board to undertake a continuing study. This study, NCHRP Project 20-05, âSynthesis of Information Related to Highway Problems,â searches out and synthesizes useful knowledge from all available sources and prepares concise, documented reports on specific topics. Reports from this endeavor constitute an NCHRP report series, Synthesis of Highway Practice. This synthesis series reports on current knowledge and practice, in a compact format, without the detailed directions usually found in handbooks or design manuals. Each report in the series provides a compendium of the best knowledge available on those measures found to be the most successful in resolving specific problems. FOREWORD By Mariela Garcia-Colberg Staff Officer Transportation Research Board In 2006, the Transportation Research Board published NCHRP Synthesis 357: Use of Geophysics for Transportation Projects, which identified benefits and challenges of using geophysical methods for transportation projects. Some of the obstacles identified by the study were recognition of appropriate applications and conditions, definition of investigation scope, gathering of adequate data, and objective interpretation by qualified professionals. The study identified such issues as the need for improved education, standards, and training resources. Since publication of this synthesis, however, the hardware and software used for geophysical methods and techniques have been improved. The purpose of this synthesis is to provide an updated matrix of geophysical techniques for each application, as well as to provide background and training resources for geophysical methods that have consistently yielded quantifiable value through improvements to design efficiencies and reduc- tions in construction risks. The synthesis assesses changes in the state of practice since publication of NCHRP Synthesis 357 and includes downhole methods and developing technologies. The synthesis also helps identify available tools and how the agencies can overcome obstacles to use. The study, prepared by Brent L. Rosenblad and Andrew Boeckmann from the University of Missouri, captures the current practice of using geophysical methods among state DOTs. It presents a literature review and results of a survey distributed to 55 agencies, including transportation agencies for all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia, as well as three offices of the Federal Lands Division of FHWA. Forty-four completed responses were received from the 50 state DOTs in the survey sample, a response rate of 88%. Case examples of five state DOTs identified as frequent users of geophysical methods are provided; these present an in-depth analysis of the common use methods and applications, challenges, and lessons learned of each program. The members of the topic panel are acknowledged on page iv. This synthesis is an immediately useful document that records acceptable practices within the limitations of available knowledge at the time of its preparation. As progress in research and practice continues, new knowledge will be added to that now at hand.
1 Summary 3 Chapter 1 Introduction 3 Objectives 4 Methodology and Outline 5 Synthesis Definition of Geophysical Methods 6 Chapter 2 Literature Review 6 Review of Findings from NCHRP Synthesis 357: Use of Geophysics for Transportation Projects 9 Geophysical Methods and Applications for Transportation Projects 19 Educational and Training Resources 21 Chapter 3 Survey Results 21 General Information on Use of Geophysical Methods 26 Methods, Applications, and Objectives of Geophysical Investigations 30 Agency Practices for Application of Geophysical Methods 33 Training Resources Related to Geophysical Methods 35 Noteworthy and Challenging Applications of Geophysical Methods 35 Summary of Significant Findings 38 Chapter 4 Case Examples 38 Minnesota Department of Transportation 41 Virginia Department of Transportation 44 Ohio Department of Transportation 49 New Jersey Department of Transportation 52 California Department of Transportation 58 Lessons Learned from All Case Examples 60 Chapter 5 Conclusions 60 Summary of Major Findings 61 Conclusions 62 Suggestions for Future Research 63 References A-1 Appendix A Survey Questionnaire B-1 Appendix B Survey Responses C O N T E N T S