Non-Conventional Road Design for Heavy Traffic Load in Soft Soils

Non-Conventional Road Design for Heavy Traffic Load in Soft Soils“Non-Conventional Road Design for Heavy Traffic Load in Soft Soils” by Hélio Vronsky Fonseca Adeodato, Rubenei Novais Souza, Silio Carlos Pereira Lima Filho, and Alexandre de Macedo Fernandes Lopes was presented at GeoAmericas 2016 (10 – 13 April 2016, Miami).


In order to assemble a petrochemical complex plant in Rio de Janeiro it was necessary to transport extremely heavy and large oil refining equipment from Guanabara Bay to the site of construction in Itaboraí City, far over 18 km. This transportation was done by a new road that was built just for this event, using special multi-axis vehicles applying on the ground an equivalent distributed load as high as 70 kPa. In many segments of the route of this new road the superficial layer of the subsoil is very soft clay, in most of the cases with large thickness. These severe characteristics of the subsoil and high level of loading made the geotechnical design of this road a big challenge. The designer had to find the foundation treatment solutions that fit the appropriate behavior of the road, low cost and tight deadlines (10 months) for implementation of the works.

This paper presents a summary of the soft soil conditions of the foundation and a description of geotechnical solutions adopted to stabilize the embankments of the road. These solutions have been designed primarily from the stabilization of embankments with high performance geogrids associated or not with stone columns. The design concept allowed the implementation of the project within the given schedule. At the same time, the behavior of the road has proved be appropriate, once the heaviest equipment has already been safely transported.


The assembly of the Petrochemical Complex of Rio de Janeiro (COMPERJ) demanded the transportation of very heavy and / or large oil processing equipment (UHOS – Ultra Heavy Over Size), that was not feasible by the existing roads. As result, after the naval transportation to a pier of Guanabara Bay in São Gonçalo – RJ, the equipment was transported to their final destination at the site of COMPERJ, in the municipality of Itaboraí – RJ, by a road of 18 km long specially designed for this purpose, whose subsoil presented a bad ground mostly consisted by a very soft clay layer of low strength and high compressibility. The vehicles used to this on shore transportation were of a special kind with multi-axles applying on the ground an equivalent distributed load between 30 kPa and 70 kPa. figure 1 schematically shows the configuration of the particular vehicle used for heavier pieces….

The full paper is available via the three-volume digital proceedings set.

View the full GeoAmericas 2016 Table of Contents (PDF)



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