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Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations

This report is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information

Publication Number: FHWA-RD-98-139
Date: June 1999

A Quarter Century of Geotechnical Research

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A Quarter Century of Geotechnical Research Cover spacer A Quarter Century of Geotechnical Research



This report summarizes Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) geotechnical research and development activities during the past 25 years. The report includes significant accomplishments in the areas of bridge foundations, ground improvement, and soil and rock behavior. A fourth category included important miscellaneous efforts that did not fit the areas mentioned. The report will be useful to researchers and practitioners in geotechnology.


NOTICE -  This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The United States Government assumes no liability for its contents or use thereof. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation.

The United States Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturer's names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the object of the document.



The author greatly appreciates the opportunity provided by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to manage the Geotechnology Research Program described in this report. The program has benefitted from the efforts of a wide range of FHWA personnel who contributed to the success of this program. In the beginning, the guidance and support of Dr. Charles Scheffey and Richard E. Hay were very helpful in establishing the program and got it going in the right direction. I am especially grateful to Carl Ealy, who has been with me from the beginning to the present, and deserves most of the credit for managing the deep foundations research project. I also appreciate the contributions of Mike Adams, who has managed the shallow foundations project and many of the ground improvement studies during the second half of this program.

Special thanks are extended to other FHWA personnel who have also contributed to the success of this program. There are too many to mention them all by name, but a few stand out above the rest. In the Headquarters office, Jerry DiMaggio and Dick Cheney have provided advice concerning which topics needed to be researched, and critiqued the work on many of the studies from start to finish. They have used many of the results to prepare design and construction guideline manuals, technical advisories, and engineering circulars that have been distributed to FHWA and State Highway practitioners all over the United States and many foreign countries.

Special credit is due John Hooks and Chien Tan Chang for their efforts to promote the technology transfer and implementation of the R&D products from this program. They provided the resources to enable Cheney and DiMaggio to accomplish their goals to bring the research results to fruition. The author is also indebted to all of the Regional Geotechnical Engineers who actively supported the program, especially Barry Berkovitz (Atlanta), Ron Chassie (Portland), Andy Munoz (Dallas), and Barry Siel (Denver). There is considerable satisfaction in knowing that these outstanding field engineers have taken our research products and used them to help make roads better in their regions.

The single most important person in the success of this program was Don Fohs, who, like Chuck Scheffey and Dick Hay, is now retired from FHWA. The author is very grateful for his support and guidance throughout the entire period of performance.

Sincere appreciation is also extended to all of the contract researchers and organizations that participated in this program. It would be nice to list them all by name; however, FHWA report processing requirements prohibit the mention of contractors names in the report. This research program was blessed with many good contract personnel. Finally, many thanks to Raghu Satyanarayana, Clay Ormsby, Nanda Sen, and Robin Collins for helping to prepare the manuscript.


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