AUTC project number: 207121
Xiong Zhang (UAF)
Permafrost soils present special problems to builders of roads and other transportation infrastructure in Alaska. When a sloped bank in a permafrost area is cut to make way for a road, the soil may thaw and slump or collapse. Six years may pass before vegetation re-stabilizes the slope. During this time, erosion increases and extends the damage, often making roadways hazardous with mud and landslides. Builders have tried many strategies for slope stabilization, some more effective (and more expensive) than others. One strategy is to use wire netting held in place by soil anchors, but there is little information on how this approach performs in Alaska's frozen, shallow, silty soils. This project, in partnership with ADOT&PF, investigates how shallow anchors perform in frozen soils. Project outcomes include designing an anchored wire mesh system to protect and stabilize ice-rich cut slopes. Soil sampling is finished, and anchor field tests and numerical simulation analysis will be done over the next year. The findings will be useful to other types of mitigation strategies, including highway retaining walls and addressing rockslide areas.