Rapid construction and settlement behavior of embankment systems on soft foundation soils

C. B. Farnsworth, S. F. Bartlett, D. Negussey, Armin W. Stuedlein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


The I-15 Reconstruction Project in Salt Lake City, Utah required rapid embankment construction in an urban environment atop soft lacustrine soils. These soils are compressible, have low shear strength, and require significant time to complete primary consolidation settlement. Because of this, innovative embankment systems and foundation treatments were employed to complete construction within the approved budget and demanding schedule constraints. This paper evaluates and compares the construction time, cost, and performance of three embankment/foundation systems used on this project: (1) one-stage mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) wall supported by lime cement columns; (2) expanded polystyrene (geofoam) embankment with tilt-up panel fascia walls; and (3) two-stage MSE wall with prefabricated vertical drain installation and surcharging. Of the technologies evaluated, the geofoam embankment had the best performance based on settlement and rapid construction time considerations, but is more costly to construct than a two-stage MSE wall with PV drain foundation treatment. The one-stage MSE wall with lime cement treated soil was the most costly, and did not perform as well as expected; thus, it had only limited use on the project.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-301
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2008


  • Embankments
  • Foundation settlement
  • Highway construction
  • Instrumentation
  • Soft soils
  • Soil stabilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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