Field behaviour of very soft clays at the Athlone embankments

O'Riordan, N.J. and Long, M.M. (2001) Field behaviour of very soft clays at the Athlone embankments. Geotechnique (awarded ICE Overseas Prize), 51, (4), 293-309. (doi:10.1680/geot.


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The approach road embankments to the new Shannon
bridge rise up to 8´6 m above the marshlands of the River
Shannon to the north of the town of Athlone in the Irish
Midlands. These embankments are located on very soft
glacial lake clay, highly compressible organic clay and calcareous
marls, the geotechnical properties of which were
largely unknown at the commencement of design in the early
1980s. Comparisons between compressibility, consolidation
and shear strength parameters derived during the site investigation
and those measured by monitoring the works are
presented in this paper. It was found, for example, that the
installation of vertical drains can significantly alter consolidation
behaviour, that held compressibility was greater than
that expected from laboratory testing, and that lateral movement
monitoring was a useful indicator of embankment
instability. Data from the construction of the Athlone embankments
also confirm that the held vane strength underestimates
the operational strength of the clays, owing to a
combination of anisotropic and vane insertion disturbance
effects. Good estimates of the operational strength are given
by the piezocone. Details of some investigative work carried
out on the soils beneath the embankments, some nine years
after completion of construction, are also presented. It was
shown that this testing confirms the findings of Mesri (1989)
that the increase in shear strength is approximately equal to
0:22Äó9v. Also, the piezocone is capable of defining zones of
anisotropy induced by embankment loading.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1680/geot.
ISSNs: 0016-8505 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: clays, compressibility, laboratory tests, settlement, shear strength, site investigation
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Civil Engineering and the Environment
ePrint ID: 53107
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
May 2001Published
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2008
Last Modified: 06 Aug 2015 02:42

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