Now Available: Preliminary Draft Section, Geophysical Applications for Arctic/Subarctic Transportation Planning

September 21, 2011 • Filed under: News — Joel Bailey

A preliminary draft section of the forthcoming study, Geophysical Applications for Arctic/Subarctic Transportation Planning (AUTC #410018), is now available on AUTC’s website.

Click below to view the section:

AUTC_ADOTPF_9-Mile_Hill_Dalton_Highway_Report_Activities_05202010 PDF

The section is authored by Richard Fortier of the Centre for Northern Studies at Laval University in Quebec, a partner in this collaborative study led by Project Investigator William Schnabel, Director of the Water and Environmental Research Center (WERC) at INE. The larger study in which this section will be included is being conducted through AUTC, WERC, and INE. The project also involves Jens Munk, Associate Professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage’s School of Engineering.

The project is helping transportation designers better utilize geophysical information when constructing bridges and roads in icy regions. By assessing the use of methods such as Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT) and Ground-Penetrating Radar (GPR), researchers hope to improve current practices of surveying sub-surface ice formations that undermine structural stability.

For example, engineers with Alaska’s Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (AKDOT&PF) rely primarily upon bore-hole drilling to survey sub-surface dynamics, which is somewhat laborious and expensive. ERT and GPR technology, through their capacity to survey relatively long sub-surface cross sections, could reduce the total number of boreholes required. The field work has taken place along “Nine-Mile Hill,” a notorious stretch of Alaska’s Dalton Highway, where AKDOT&PF engineers and AUTC researchers have conducted previous work dealing with the difficulties posed by sub-surface ice formations.