Geotechnical Challenges and Opportunities in Large Infrastructure Projects—Learning from Failures
Large infrastructure project always involves complex structures and construction sequences which need to be built within the project schedule. With a view of faster construction approach, many times execution team takes flexibility which violates the basic soil-structure interaction phenomena thereby posing risk on the structure especially during construction. Though temporary sometimes, such failures incur huge cost for corrective actions and sometimes schedule delay. Present paper shares some recent experiences where lack of understanding of geotechnical processes leads to failure. At the same time, they are lessons for the Engineers who usually designs the structures for routine in-service conditions. This paper documents recent experiences with deep excavations, buried pipeline structures, large reservoir, and containment structures. Dewatering and excavations are key construction sequence for deep excavations and failing to understand the under seepage conditions, may leads to catastrophic failure which may impose human causalities. Buried pipeline projects are critical project elements and parallel trench excavation along the pipeline can result partial or full release of side supports thereby inducing the failure due to large crown displacements. The side slopes of large reservoirs may be stable for stability point of view. However, selection of other elements like protection tiling above geosynthetic lining may experience distress. Dykes or embankment resting on pervious foundation is more critical and failing to recognize it sometimes may invite huge maintenance and repairing costs. Lessons learned from these cases shall help Engineers to proactively consider such situations in order to prevent such failures in large infrastructure projects.
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