Highways are the nervous system of society. They are integral to so many different aspects of life, commerce, trade, and pleasure. Highway failures vary in degrees of severity and, much to our displeasure, annoyance. From the shallow potholes on back roads to dangerously unstable concertina patterns on some major motorways, highway failures range from council meeting discussions to large-scale projects.
The Borehole Solutions team have a great deal of experience in providing extensive remedial work. Here, they share their insight into how to deal with the various problems that may occur on our beloved roads.
What does Highway Failure mean?
The main aspect of a highway failure is one that compromises the structural integrity of the road. Failures, of all kinds, are not only a hazard to drivers, but also to pedestrians, runners, and cyclists. If left unchecked, small cracks and potholes can soon become much bigger issues. These need to be addressed and rectified quickly and effectively.
A highway will encounter a lot of stress in its lifetime. This includes, but is not limited to, poor construction and design, lacking construction methods and materials, excessive load-bearing, poor maintenance and upkeep, severe and changeable weather events, ageing, and more often than not, a combination of the above.
Effects of Highway Failures
Aside from the obvious hazard to road users and potential loss of life, there are other effects that might happen when a highway fails. Travel times may increase, due to congestion on the roads, which in turn increases costs of transporting goods and services. Furthermore, there is also a negative impact on the environment through increased carbon emissions. Studies have also shown that a high level of highway failures decreases the overall GDP of an area.
A Recent Example
The team at Borehole Solutions is always on hand when it comes to highway failures. Relatively recently, a tension crack was the culprit of this particular carriageway failure, in Yorkshire. A rotational failure was present in the retaining structure – where the underlying soil was less than secure and therefore unable to support the above road’s centre of mass. This was something that needed to be rectified quickly, to protect road users.
A sonic drilling rig was used to drill through the carriageway in question, allowing for long term monitoring of the soil structure and integrity. Then an inclinometer was installed for continual movement monitoring so that any future issues could be dealt with quickly. This ultimately saves money in the long term.
Prevention is the Best Cure
Technology is another way that we can ensure the longevity of our highways. Smart technology, in the form of monitoring projects, is a great way to keep on top of potential problems. This also saves on manpower and financial resources. There is a need for continually reviewed and updated codes of standards for different roads across the country – by way of different soil compositions around the U.K., and varying levels of usage.
With something as heavily used as highways, carriageways and roads, wear and tear is inevitable. Even those most meticulously designed and constructed will display faults and failures, but pro-activity is the best way to deal with highway failures. It goes without saying that prevention is the best cure, making the ideal solution the ability to identify a potential failure before it happens.
Contact Borehole Solutions
Whatever geotechnical service you’re looking for, the team here at Borehole Solutions will be happy to help. If you’d like to find out more about our highway failures work, then get in touch! Contact Borehole Solutions today on 01733 200 501.