Construction Practices in Karst Topography

The geologic formations native to Virginia include several areas with karst topography, which is characterized the small and large-scale voids within the soil structure formed by the dissolution of soluble bedrock. Drainage within a karst soil can continually change the shape and size of these voids and therefore significantly affect the strength of the soil itself. The possible variation of strength within karst soils causes additional challenges and concerns in the construction and maintenance various transportation infrastructure components. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) does not currently have a set of guidelines addressing the appropriate construction practices to use within karst soils. This project aims to investigate current construction practices used in Virginia and other states for karst soils, and to create a set of guidelines for construction on karst soils that could be referenced for new or on-going construction projects. After meeting with VDOT representatives to discuss specific needs in relation to the difficulties encountered when karst soils were present in construction projects, an expansive literature review was conducted that focused on two main areas of particular interest to VDOT. First, the current practice of non-invasive methods for determining the presence of voids was explored. VDOT representatives indicated that one of the main problems in dealing with karst soils was that it was difficult to determine if significant voids were even present. The second area researched examined different construction methods used after a determination was made that karst soils were present. To date, the literature reviewed thus far has been compiled in a draft document detailing the current state of practice for both research areas. The literature review is ongoing, and there are a few more projects that need to be examined and added.


    • English


    • Status: Completed
    • Contract Numbers:



    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Mid-Atlantic Universities Transportation Center

      Pennsylvania State University
      201 Transportation Research Building
      University Park, PA  United States  16802-4710
    • Performing Organizations:

      University of Virginia, Charlottesville

      Center for Transportation Studies
      P.O. Box 400742, Thornton Hall, D228
      Charlottesville, VA  United States  22903
    • Principal Investigators:

      Burden, Lindsay

    • Start Date: 20120601
    • Expected Completion Date: 0
    • Actual Completion Date: 20130915
    • Source Data: RiP Project 33478

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01503465
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: Mid-Atlantic Universities Transportation Center
    • Contract Numbers: DTRT12-G-UTC03, 140735-C
    • Files: UTC, RiP
    • Created Date: Jan 8 2014 1:01AM