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Cost-Effective and Sustainable Road Slope Stabilization and Erosion Control

Project #: 4W3431
Start Date: 12/01/2010
End Date: 06/01/2012
Status: Completed

The final synthesis presents information on cost-effective and sustainable road slope stabilization techniques, with a focus on shallow or near-surface slope stabilization and related erosion control methods used on low-volume roads. To fully address this topic planning and site investigation are discussed as well as erosion control techniques, soil bioengineering and biotechnical techniques, mechanical stabilization and earthwork techniques.


In the U.S., there are approximately 3 million miles of rural low-volume roads, which are maintained by some 35,000 local agencies. Low-volume roads are often considered synonymous with low cost roads, and road construction practice often omits surface slope protection (grass plantings, hydro-mulching, etc.). As a consequence, there can be the loss of road use accompanied by potentially major environmental damage including erosion and sedimentation problems leading to water quality degradation. Additionally, frequent slope failures add to the erosion problem, increase road maintenance needs, and often create traffic delays and safety problems. Many solutions being implemented around the world by low-volume road engineers and managers are successful and cost-effective, but are not well disseminated or used. The objective of this synthesis is to compile cost-effective practices on roadway slope stabilization and erosion control, with a focus on environmentally friendly (greener) and sustainable practices. The information will be gathered for the synthesis through a literature review of domestic and international sources and selected interviews.


The objective of this synthesis is to compile available knowledge and useful, cost-effective practices on roadway slope stabilization and erosion control.


  • Laura Fay
    Laura Fay