Characterization of Soil and Rock for Transportation Infrastructure Using Seismic Methods in Wyoming

The Load Resistance and Factor Design (LRFD) method currently in use by Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) allows the designer to develop soil and rock specific resistance factors depending on the testing and analyses of foundation and soil elements. Currently Kam Ng has initiated testing necessary to calibrate the resistance factors for driven piles in soft rocks (RS06216). This research is in its beginning stages but may be enhanced with more detailed sub-surface data. For example, one important factor when designing pile foundations is the weathered rock / hard rock transition zone. This zone can be hard to sample and is an important layer for pile driving and foundation design. Current design practice in Wyoming is to perform sub-surface exploration using borings, SPT analyses for soils, coring rock, and a drive point method specific to WYDOT. These methods have proven to work well in the past, and are still a source of vital information for today’s bridge and foundation designs. The data obtained from these investigation can be enhanced using seismic techniques in sub-surface investigation which will allow designers to accurately measure the depth of the transition zone and modulus over a large area. The seismic methods proposed in this project include compression wave refraction and surface wave testing. This project, will allow researchers at the University of Wyoming to perform refraction and surface wave testing at 9 sites in Wyoming. These 9 sites include 3 sites where advanced load and osterburg cell tests will take place. The load and osterburg tests will provide the highest quality field test data available and will be complimented by the seismic testing. It is hoped that by performing advanced seismic surveys at these 9 sites future predication and correlation information will be determined. The correlations will be a value to WYDOT, and other states building bridge foundations in similar soft rock conditions. Additionally, better subsurface investigations will yield better predictions concerning depth of competent rock which may help control costs. Long-term benefits include development of shear wave velocity information being used to help classify rock types or behavior. By performing this research WYDOT will be following recommendations from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) which encourages the use of different and new sub-surface investigation techniques (Rivers and Nichols, 2019). The purpose of this project is to set forth the terms and conditions by which the Contractor shall perform refraction and surface wave testing at nine (9) sites in Wyoming.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $171668
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Wyoming Department of Transportation

    5300 Bishop Blvd.
    Cheyenne, WY  United States  82009-3340
  • Project Managers:

    Hood, Kirk

  • Principal Investigators:

    Griffiths, Shawn

  • Start Date: 20200106
  • Expected Completion Date: 20220531
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01731829
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Wyoming Department of Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: RS03220
  • Files: RIP, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: Feb 24 2020 1:11PM