Forensic Analyses and Rehabilitation of a Failed Highway Embankment Slope in Texas Academic Article uri icon


  • A comprehensive investigation was designed and conducted to identify the potential causes of failure of a highway embankment slope in Texas and evaluate the effectiveness of lime treatment to rehabilitate the failed slope. Highway slopes built with high plasticity clays often experience shallow slope failures after exposure to repeated wetdry weathering cycles. Lime stabilization generally reduces the swellshrink potential, enhances the engineering properties of problematic clayey soils, and can potentially prevent surficial slope failures. However, exposure to wetdry cycles can negate some of the benefits of lime treatment and therefore a study was conducted to address the use of this lime treatment to stabilize embankment slopes. Extensive laboratory tests were conducted to study the effect of weathering cycles on the degradation of hydro-mechanical properties of untreated and lime-treated soils. Rainfall-induced slope stability analyses were performed to investigate the probable causes of slope failure and evaluate the stability of lime-treated surficial slope. The optimum stabilizer dosage and treated layer thickness required for the slope rehabilitation were determined based on laboratory tests and numerical analysis results. The stability analysis results indicate that the degradation of surficial soils hydro-mechanical properties and the development of a perched water table during prolonged rainfall possibly caused the slope failure. The post-treatment increase in shear strength properties, reduction in moisture fluctuations recorded by embedded moisture sensors, and the presence of newly installed underlying drains are expected to prevent recurrence of surficial slope failures. Salient results from this study are covered in this paper.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Boluk, B., Puppala, A. J., Chakraborty, S., & Bhaskar, P.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Boluk, Burak||Puppala, Anand J||Chakraborty, Sayantan||Bhaskar, Puneet

publication date

  • August 2021