Recent research on the delayed failure of cuttings in clay clearly recognises and predicts progressive delayed failure of deep cuttings. This is due to a combination of strain-softening, weathering, dissipation of negative excess pore water pressure generated at the time of excavation, and frequent occurrence of prolonged periods of wet weather. There have been several slope failures of this kind in Northern Ireland. This paper discusses a case study based on a failure of a deep cutting, excavated at a slope of 1 in 2, on the A1 near Dromore (County Down) in Northern Ireland. The cutting was in lodgement till, a stiff, heavily overconsolidated clay. The failure occurred approximately 30 years after the cutting was excavated, following a prolonged period of heavy rainfall. An analysis of the failure, together with laboratory test data on soil samples taken from the site, confirmed that by using long-term soil strength parameters the factor of safety of this slope was unity. The conclusion of the analysis is that slopes excavated in this soil should be designed (and assessed) on long-term strength parameters.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology