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CONSTRUCTION COST CURVES FOR SLOPE STABILIZATION MEASURES IN COHESIONLESS SOILS

Edgardo P. Kasilag II, MTM 1, 2 Jaylord U. Tan Tian, MSCE (ongoing) 1, 2 Arlene Q. Buenaventura, MSCE (ongoing) 1
1 AMH Philippines, Inc., Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines 2 Institute of Civil Engineering, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines Abstract: Failure of slopes in varying magnitudes of damage and different risk-potential requires engineering measures to address critical slope surfaces and reduce its associated risks. These measures, which are intuitively proportional to the magnitude of failure, result in varying construction costs that are borne by end-users such as private developers, contractors, and government agencies such as local government units. The paper reviews various slope stabilization techniques for cohesionless soils such as modification of existing grades/slopes, reinforced earth structures and soil nailing, and evaluates the behavior of construction cost based on slope geometry, fixed properties of the soil mass and seismic conditions. Methods for analysis of slope stability, soil shear strength parameters and criteria for acceptable factors of safety are also discussed. Keywords: slope stability, cost comparison of remedial measures, slope construction, cost curves

INTRODUCTION

The main objective of this paper is to derive construction cost curves for slopes with defined soil and slope parameters, considering a selected range of solutions readily available in local construction. In ensuring effective slope design, consideration must be made not only to the triggering mechanisms of the failure and the criteria for an acceptable factor of safety, but likewise to the safety, reliability and economics of the proposed remediation measures.

(degrees) = 30o were assigned to the soil mass. It was assumed that the soil mass is made of homogenous material, elastic, and assumes an isotropic behavior. 2.2 Slope Conditions

STUDY PARAMETERS

Fixed Parameters
The ultimate objective of slope stability analysis and design is to determine the appropriate engineering intervention on an existing slope such that the ensuing factor of safety meets a preset factor of safety criteria. In general, analysis and design requires consideration of such parameters as (1) soil mass properties; (2) slope geometry; (3) groundwater conditions; (4) seismic activity and (5) alteration of materials by faulting, joint or discontinuity systems. For this paper, joints and discontinuities were not taken into account considering that soil is the primary material under consideration. 2.1 Soil Properties The soil was assumed to be medium dense sand with representative values of unit weight, (kN/m3) = 18; cohesion, c (kPa) = 0; and angle of internal friction,

2.2.1 Pore Water Pressure Ratio (ru) Pore water pressure refers to the pressure of groundwater or water seepage held within a soil or rock, in gaps between particles called pores. The pressure tends to push particles apart reducing contact between them and the shearing resistance. It also saturates the soil and increases its weight. Due to the increase in weight, rainfall-induced landslides are normally triggered by pore water pressure build up on the soil mass. A relevant parameter used in design is called pore water pressure ratio (ru), which is the fraction of the pressure exerted by the water to the total pressure exerted by the soil at a point. An ru value of 0.50 is considered fully saturated since it suggests that half of the pressure induced is due to water. Considering the unit weight of soil at saturated condition, sat = 20 kN/m3, and the unit weight of water is water = 9.8 kN/m3, the ratio of the unit weight of water to the unit weight of soil is about 0.50. In the analysis, an ru value of 0.20 was assigned to represent moderate pore water pressure build up, or 50% saturation. This is coupled with seismic loading which is discussed in the succeeding section.

2.2.2 Seismic Load Coefficient (kh) A pseudo-static condition is the case where seismic load is incorporated in the analysis. A parameter called seismic load coefficient (kh) takes into account earthquake load probability, and is expressed as a fraction of the acceleration due to gravity. A kh value of 0.1g means that the ground acceleration is about 1m/sec2. Ground motions of 0.1g are generally considered able to cause damage, and is equivalent to Magnitude 6.0 in the Richter Scale. In the design analysis of slopes, a kh value of 0.1g was assigned in combination with ru=0.2. The ru=0.2 and kh=0.1 condition to meet the specified factor of safety (FS) was fixed as passing criteria for the slope stability analysis. A factor of safety FS equal to 1.1 is generally accepted as passing criteria. If the calculated pseudo-static FS is greater than 1.1, the slope is considered to have an acceptable FS under the contingency level seismic event. In the analysis of design, tolerance of 0.025 was implemented, while keeping the FS within the tolerable range.

granular material, ranging from 28o to 45o. The angle of internal friction of a granular material is the steepest angle of descent or dip of the slope relative to the horizontal plane when material on the slope face is on the verge of sliding.

SLOPE STABILIZATION MEASURES

The following main type of slope stabilization measures were considered for this paper: (a) Slope Trimming & Benching (b) Reinforced Earth System (c) Soil Nailing / Shotcreting Slope trimming and benching generally consists of the slope stabilization by modification of slope angles to result in gentler slopes, thereby increasing factors of safety. The measure primarily consists of earthworks, both excavation of embankment, as means to reduce slope angle. Depending on the quality of the existing material, excavated material may be used as backfill, compacted in accordance with the requirements of the DPWH Technical Specifications for Highways and Bridges. When unsuitable, borrow material may be sourced from approved sources. The finished slope, being prone to erosion which contributes to instability in the long term, requires the introduction of erosion control measures. These may include bioengineering measures such as coco coir nets and introduction of vegetation which will serve as long term erosion protection. To aid in the management of surface runoff, berms of suitable widths are constructed at appropriate heights, which are then directed to chutes or other disposal points along the slope height.

Variable Parameters
2.3 Slope Geometry The geometry of the slope plays an important role to its stability. The conventional limit equilibrium methods investigate the equilibrium of the soil mass tending to slide down under the influence of gravity. Transitional or rotational movement is considered on assumed or known potential slip surface below soil or rock mass. All methods are based on comparison of forces (moments or stresses) resisting instability of the mass and those that causing instability (disturbing forces). In effect, the stability of the slope is a function of its height and steepness. For same hydrogeologic conditions, a steeper, higher slope would have a higher tendency to fail compared with a gentler, low elevation slope by virtue of gravity. 2.3.1 Slope Height The slope height taken into consideration ranged from 10m to 30m, with 5m interval for analysis. In effect, the heights of slope were: 10m, 15m, 20m, 25m, and 30m, iterated for various slope angles and various slope remediation schemes. It is assessed that at slope heights greater than 30m, several factors must be taken into account such as risk associated, structural remediation (for a more economic design), or relocation. It was not the intent of this paper to factor in such conditions as slope remediation was implemented on an ideal condition with no surcharge load or existing structure. 2.3.2 Slope Angle Three slope angles were studied in this paper. In combination with different slope heights, slope angles of 30o, 40o, and 50o were implemented. The angles were determined based on the typical angle of internal friction of

Figure 1. Sample trim and bench section. Reinforced earth system, as referred to in this paper, will refer to a system where mesh layers are introduced into the soil backfill as a reinforcement to provide stability. The type of mesh reinforcement selected for this paper are geotetiles with coco sacks as final facing of the reinforced earth. The slope face is formed from the free end of the embedded geogrid which is wrapped around the front face of the individual backfill lifts which are typically between 200mm and 500mm in lift heights.

The faces are normally constructed using temporary support to achieve the design gradient of the slope and provide the necessary restraint during compaction of the backfill in each lift. This is achieved by positioning bags of topsoil or biodegradable mats on the face of the material around which the geogrid is wrapped. The top soil supports a quicker vegetation of the slope, which hides the geogrid and provides natural erosion control.

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4.1

METHOD OF ANALYSIS
Slope Stability Analysis Theory

Slopes consisting of isotropic deposits possessing cohesion have been observed to fail by sliding along a curved plane of slippage. Although the slip surfaces are not truly circular in shape, widely used methods of analysis assume that the plane of failure follows a circular arc. This closely approximates the actual failure plane and allows for mathematical convenience. Principles of engineering statics can be employed in the study of the stability of a sloped earth mass for the possibility of failure. The total sliding mass can be assumed to be cylindrical and a unit width extending along the face of the slope is analyzed.

Figure 2. Reinforced earth section w/ coco sack facing

Forces affecting the equilibrium of the assumed failure mass are determined and the rotational moments of these forces with respect to the center of the slip circle arc are computed. The weight of the sliding mass and the external loading on the slope contribute to the moments acting to cause movement. The shear strength of the soil on the assumed slip surface provides resistance to sliding. One method to determine if failure (sliding) occurs is to compare the moments that would resist movement to those that tend to cause movement. Failure is indicated when moments causing motion exceed those resisting it. The factor of safety (FS) against movement is given by FS = Moments resisting sliding ---------------------------------Moments causing sliding

Figure 3. Sample coco sack and wrap-around detail

Soil nailing and shotcreting consists of reinforcing the soil mass by the introduction of a series of thin elements called nails to resist tension, bending and shear forces. The reinforcing elements are made of steel round-cross-section bars installed perpendicular into the slope in a pre-bore hole, which is fully grouted and locked in place with steel plates at the slope face. After the soil nails are installed, the slope is installed with wire mesh secured in place by spikes. Weep holes are also installed to relieve pore water pressure. The slope face is then shotcreted to the specified thickness, which will form the permanent erosion protection system to support the stability induced by the soil nails.

A factor of safety of 1.0 means that the assumed failure section is on the verge of sliding. Another method is to compare the required shear resistance for sliding moments and resisting moments to balance with the shear strength of the soil. If the shearing strength that can be developed by the soil is greater than that required for equilibrium, then failure does not occur. The factor of safety (FS) for this method is given by FS = Shear strength possessed by the soil -------------------------------------------Shear strength for equilibrium

Figure 4. Sample soil nailed/shotcreted slope section

4.2

SLIDE 6.0

Procedures for slope stability analysis can become quite rigorous because of the complex equations involved. For this reason, commercial computer software have been developed for performing slope stability analysis, which can be used for numerous iterations and for a varying set of boundary conditions. For this paper, SLIDE software by Rocscience was used. One of the methods included in this program is the slope stability analysis procedure based on the Bishop Method. The final output shows data and a figure of the failure circle with the least factor of safety for the slope being analyzed. Bishops method was carried out to calculate the FS for the current status and geometrical configuration. This forward analysis predicts the possible progression of instability and future slope failure. In case the FS is less than 1.0, appropriate engineering and/or risk reduction measures need to be considered.

of the SLIDE runs. The costs also included backfill (assumed to be available at minimal haul distance) and compaction at 95% MDD. Lastly, the reinforced slope was set-up with a vegetated facing through the introduction of cocosacks containing fertile soil and seeds whose propagation will serve as permanent facing, providing the slope a more environmentally-blending finish. Soil Nailing and Shotcreting costs included installation and grouting of 25mm diameter reinforcing steel bars at the appropriate locations and to the depths determined in the analysis. The soil nails are held in place with soil nail locks and steel plates of dimensions 150x150x12mm thickness. The slope finish costs further included the installation of wiremesh with opening of 15x15x7mm, and 100mm thick shotcreting with fc= 4000psi. Lastly, weep holes 75mm in diameter and gravel packs completed this soil stabilization method.

COST CURVES

The following cost curves were derived:

Figure 5.

Sample SLIDE 6.0 output

COST ASSUMPTIONS & INCLUSIONS

Figure 6. Construction Cost Curves at 30o Slope (3 schemes)

For purposes of deriving the cost curves for this paper, the following assumptions and inclusions were made: Slope Trimming and Benching included of excavation works with no backfill requirements, disposal of which shall made within the vicinity of the project site such that no haulout/disposal cost will need to be incurred. The finished slope was assumed to be overlain with coco coir nets (min 400g/sqm) and then vegetated either through direct planting hydroseeding or mixing within the coco sacks. Stone masonry or grouted riprap berms 1.0 to 1.5m was imposed at 5m vertical intervals, and directed to chutes of similar material at mid-length. Reinforced Earth Systems included of excavation works necessary to set-up the geotextile wrap-around system for the slope under consideration. The geotextile material, which is likewise included in the estimates, was located at specified depths and lengths in accordance with the results
Figure 7. Construction Cost Curves at 40o Slope (3 schemes)

Figure 8. Construction Cost Curves at 50o Slope (3 schemes)

CONCLUSION

Derivation of cost curves for various combinations of fixed and variable slope-related parameters would be beneficial for rapid assessment of cost of construction, as well as validation of budgets expected to fall within likely ranges. Although this paper assumed a homogenous slope section, area-specific curves may likewise be derived, considering predominant stratification in locations where steep slopes are common. Such information would be beneficial to designer, contractors and end-users alike.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT Authors would like to acknowledge the kind assistance of Engr. Roy Anthony C. Luna of AMH Philippines, Inc. in the preparation of this paper. REFERENCES Bowles, Joseph E. Foundation Analysis and Design, 5th edition, McGraw-Hill, 1024pp., 1996. Nelson, Stephen A. Earthquake Hazards and Risks. EENS 2040 Tulane University. Patwardhan, A.M. The Dynamic Earth System. 2nd edition. 2010. PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd. Orense, R.P. Geotechnical Hazards Nature, Assessment and Mitigation, University of the Philippines Press, 510pp., 2003. Lunne, T., Robertson, P. K., and Powell, J. J. M. (1997). Cone Penetration Testing in Geotechnical Practice, Blackie Academic and Professional, Chapman and Hall, London