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GEOTECHNICAL INVESTIGATION OF A BORROW PIT MATERIAL FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF UYO-IKOT EKPENE HIGH WAY
1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
The construction of foundations of most engineering structure requires that adequate information about the engineering properties of the soil and sub-soil condition of the area are known. This is necessary for the engineering planning, design and construction of such foundations to be based on sound geotechnical parameters.
This is more important especially in the design and construction of highways, where there is need for a good and sound knowledge of the geotechnical and engineering properties of the subgrade and, more importantly, the construction materials’ properties for sound engineering decisions to be taken. Such geotechnical parameters include the strength, the maximum dry density (MDD), the amount of fines (clay and silts) as well as the compaction performance of the proposed highway construction materials.
In Nigeria, the non-availability of generalized relevant data in this area, particularly for initial preliminary engineering planning and designs, has been the bane and cause of failure of most of our highway construction projects, such that, failure occurs almost immediately after the project is commissioned or even before. The construction material which is used for engineering highway projects is therefore as important, as other engineering design factors. Thus in road pavement design, the soil (sub-base and base course) materials used in the pavement construction transmit the axle-load to the sub-soil or subgrade. Hence, the durability of a highway pavement is a function of the ease and rigidity of the pavement soil to transmit the stress induced in it to the sub-soil such that unnecessary deformation is avoided.
Sub-base courses are constructed of lower quality material than the base courses, and are usually placed below the sub-grade to fairly uniform strength characteristic so that the base-course thickness may be reduced to a more effective and economic value; T.M Oguara (2006). While the availability of good borrow material will dictate what is to use for the sub-base, the sub-base material must be of a higher quality than the sub-grade but of lower quality than the base-course material.
Also of recent is the issue of high incidence of fail highway pavement around the country as a whole. An investigative study of geotechnical properties of the materials commonly used for sub-base construction in this part of the country may indicate some factors that contribute to road pavement failures.
Roads create and support business environment that facilitate private sector investment. Growth, job creation, trade within the country and with the neighbouring countries heavily utilizes roads for transportation of persons, goods, and services. Adequate provision of roads is therefore an essential precondition for sustainable economic and social development.
However the rich state of roads at Uyo- Ikot Ekpene road is enhancing the attainment of the above goals. This is due to the non-compromise on the use of skilled, man power and use of standard materials in road construction, thus such road can live their desired life span and same standard should be emulated in other pavements construction across Nigeria.
The need for road infrastructure arises from the fact that there is a greater need for accessibility.
The area of study is at Ikot Ada Idem Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. The area lies on the coordinates 5°14′0″N7°53′0″E. The area has a distance of about 8.1km, situated parallel to Uyo dual carriage road, Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Lateritic soils are used as road making material and they form the sub-grade. They are used as sub- base and base course for low roads and these carry low to medium traffic. However, the failure of flexible pavement within the south south region is due to the condition the materials are being exposed to. The materials are soaked by water almost permanently during the rainy season leading to excessive swelling, increased permeability and during the dry season, the material shrinks Losing all absorbed moisture content making the road structure susceptible to degradation.
For this region to experience rapid development in the nearest future, the traffic condition of this road needs to be given consideration, as most part of the road are un-tarred. This is why this research work is very important and necessary.