3 Factors Used To Design Rock Fall Embankments

Carving out a section of mountain in order to construct a road can be a great way to provide drivers with access to various locations. Unfortunately, altering the physical structure of the mountain can lead to potential rock falls that might cause serious damage.

Planning for potential rock fall is an essential element in any road construction plan. The addition of a rock fall embankment can help keep falling rock from coming into contact with passing motorists. In order to be effective, these rock fall embankments must be carefully designed with some important factors influencing the look and function of the final product.

1. Anticipated Trajectory

Before constructing a rock fall embankment, the rock faces on either side of the roadway must be examined. A topographical survey can help identify the potential trajectory that rocks and boulders might take as they fall away from the rock face of the mountain.

This trajectory determines where rock fall embankments must be placed in order to successfully corral falling rock before it can damage mountain roadways.

2. Energy Levels

If a rock fall embankment is going to successfully protect a mountain roadway, it must be capable of withstanding a significant amount of energy.

The size of any potential boulders or rocks that might break away from the cliff face needs to be assessed. The distance that falling rock will travel prior to reaching the embankment should also be evaluated.

These calculations can help determine the amount of force with which rock fall will hit the embankment. The embankment can then be constructed using materials and techniques that will produce a structure strong enough to retain its structural stability when exposed to the high energy levels associated with falling rock.

3. Bounce Height

When a rock or boulder begins to fall, it doesn't just roll along the ground. Large pieces of rock can bounce and become airborne as they fall from above. These bounce heights must be taken into consideration when designing a rock fall embankment.

The embankment structure needs to be tall enough to prevent falling rock from bouncing over the top of the embankment and rolling into the roadway below. Determining the potential maximum of the bounce height in a specific area will provide the information needed to design a successful rock fall embankment.

Protecting mountain roadways against rock damage is critical to the safety of these routes. Constructing a rock fall embankment can be an effective way to eliminate rock damage and provide safe passage through mountain byways. For more information, contact a company like Geotech Solutions Inc.