AUTC project number: 309032R
Margaret Darrow (UAF)
The failure mechanisms of unstable soil slopes in permafrost areas are not well understood. Analysis of these slopes requires consideration of soil temperatures, ice content, and their effects on soil strength, which is not part of typical slope stability analysis. These unstable slopes may vary in depth, affecting only the active layer or having a more deep-seated nature. Additionally, the subsurface conditions may be a complex mixture of frozen and unfrozen areas, which affects the groundwater flow and overall slope stability. Whatever their configuration, these unstable slopes possess characteristics that are unique to permafrost regions. Several unstable soil slopes in frozen ground exist along highways in Alaska's Northern Region. These areas of instability require ongoing maintenance and monitoring until possible mitigation strategies are developed. Without understanding the intricacies of these unstable slopes in frozen ground, the engineers from the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (AK DOT&PF) may be at a disadvantage when developing mitigation strategies.
The research objectives of this project are: