• A Bio-Wicking System to Mitigate Capillary Water in Base Course

      Lin, Chuang; Zhang, Xiong (Center for Environmentally Sustainable Transportation in Cold Climates, 2016-11)
      Water within pavement layers is the major cause of pavement deteriorations. High water content results in significant reduction in soil’s resilient behavior and increase in permanent deformation. Conventional drainage systems can only drain gravity water but not capillary water. Both preliminary lab and field tests have proven the drainage efficiency of a newly developed H2Ri geotextile with wicking fabrics. This bio-wicking system aims at resolving the potential issues that the original design may encounter: (1) H2Ri ultraviolet degradation, (2) H2Ri mechanical failure, (3) loss of drainage function under high suction, and (4) clogging and salt concentration. Both elemental level and full-scale test results indicated that the bio-wicking system is more effective in draining capillary water within the base courses compared with original design, in which the geotextile is directly exposed to the open air. However, a good drainage condition is required for the bio-wicking system to maintain its drainage efficiency. Accumulation of excess water will result in water re-entering the road embankment. Moreover, grass root and geotextile share the same working mechanism in transporting water. In the proposed bio-wicking system, the relatively smaller channels in the grass roots further ensures water moving from H2Ri geotextile, transporting through the stems of grass, and eventually evapo-transpiring into the air at the leaf-air interfaces. In sum, the bio-wicking system seemed to successfully address the concerns in the preliminary design and is a more efficient system to dehydrate the road embankment under unsaturated conditions.
    • Long-term Stabilization of Disturbed Slopes Resulting from Construction Operations

      Perkins, Robert (Center for Environmentally Sustainable Transportation in Cold Climates, 2018-03)
      Highway construction disturbs soil, which must be stabilized to prevent migration of soil particles into water bodies. Stabilization is enforced by law, regulation, and a permit system. Stabilization is most efficiently attained by reestablishment of vegetation, and permits sometimes specify this method of stabilization. Revegetation is difficult in northern Alaska, and seeded grasses often die in a year or two, while reestablishment with native vegetation takes several years. A literature search and interviews with experts indicates that simply extending this “establishment period” has many practical difficulties. Field investigations and interviews indicate that in northern Alaska little erosion occurs at slopes with failed vegetation, which implies that vegetation was not critical to reducing contamination and the expense of revegetation was unnecessary. However, when revegetation is specified in standard permit language, and contractor, owner, and regulator must close out projects, grasses are utilized. This research supports the recommendation that the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities work with the Alaska Department of Natural Resources and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation to develop special standards for projects north of the Brooks Range and between the Brooks and Alaska ranges, that recognize the low erosion potential of clean road fill – embankments.