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Frost Heaves: A Problem That Continues To Swell


A frost heave distress on a roadway is caused by the upward movement of the pavement resulting from expansion of trapped water beneath the roadway. A significant heave can result in permanent damage of deformations and cracking with varying severities. These distresses can greatly affect the ride quality and leave motorists with an uncomfortable and unsafe ride. Pavement distresses caused by frost heave action are usually unpredictable and can be very costly to repair. In order to mitigate frost heave action, designers must understand the different conditions in which water can become trapped within the frost depth. The presence of highly frost susceptible materials and improper drainage are key contributors to frost heaves, but other conditions such as the existing terrain and constructed cut-to fill transitions can also lead to potential frost heaves problems. The objective of this paper is to investigate the causes of frost heaves and how to mitigate these effects during design and construction stages to avoid costly repairs down the road. It will also review the techniques for a frost heave field investigation and what rehabilitation techniques can be used to improve the frost heave protection.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Lori Schaus
Mark Popik
Environmental issues, Environmental legislation