Characterization of Voids and Other Subsurface Deficiencies by Geophysical Methods

Road crews and engineers working on maintaining Hawaii's roads, airfields and harbors are often faced with under-performing pavements that have deteriorated due to the presence of cavities, the loss of soil, or the settlement of loose or soft materials beneath. These types of problems tend to reoccur and turn into persistent and costly headaches unless they are identified and corrected properly. A major concern in this regard is the proper characterization of these subgrade deficiencies. In the past this was accomplished by drilling and excavation, which can be costly, ineffective and very disruptive to public transportation services. Today the same can be achieved more efficiently and economically with noninvasive geophysical techniques that require no removal of the pavement, drilling or excavating. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and many other agencies and private companies have developed various types of equipment for precisely these types of applications. A variety of geophysical methods have been developed over the years and the associated equipment has become much more affordable and versatile. Although a number of contractors are available that can perform geophysical surveys, and some experience has been gained on a number of projects on the Big Island and elsewhere in Hawaii, the costs for such surveys tends to be quite substantial. Therefore, it makes more sense to develop an in-house capability through a research project such as this one, especially given recent technological advances that have made the required instrumentation much more user friendly. The purpose of this study is to evaluate and test a range of remote sensing techniques and instruments for use in Hawaii's unique geologic environment and to choose the most versatile one for implementation by the Department of Transportation. This will require further validation, testing and calibration once the optimum measuring technique and equipment have been selected. Field locations, such as Hilo Harbor where particularly severe problems have been reported, will be selected in conjunction with the Department of Transportation, FHWA and other interested parties to evaluate the effectiveness of available geophysical methodologies for problem conditions endemic to Hawaii's geologic environment. The ultimate goal is to make available a cost effective and practical means of detecting cavities and other subgrade deficiencies beneath roadways and other surfaces that has been calibrated for local conditions.


    • English


    • Status: Active
    • Funding: $288839.00
    • Contract Numbers:



    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Federal Highway Administration

      300 Ala Moana Boulevard
      Honolulu, HI  United States  96850

      Hawaii Department of Transportation

      869 Punchbowl Street
      Honolulu, HI  United States  96813-5097
    • Project Managers:

      Liu, Arnold

    • Performing Organizations:

      University of Hawaii, Manoa

      College of Engineering, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
      2540 Dole Street, Holmes Hall 383
      Honolulu, HI  United States  96822
    • Principal Investigators:

      Brandes, Horst

    • Start Date: 20061115
    • Expected Completion Date: 0
    • Actual Completion Date: 20091114
    • Source Data: RiP Project 12848

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01460448
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: Hawaii Department of Transportation
    • Contract Numbers: 55161, HWY-L-2006-03
    • Files: RiP, USDOT, STATEDOT
    • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 1:25PM