The use of geogrids in mitigating pavement defects on roads built over expansive soils

Richard Shumbusho, Gurmel Ghataora, Michael Burrow, Digne R. Rwabuhungu

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This study was conducted to investigate the potential benefits of using geogrids in mitigating pavement defects notably roughness and longitudinal cracking on pavements built over expansive soils. The seasonal changes of expansive soils (periodic wetting and drying) cause detrimental effects on the overlying road pavements. Such detrimental behavior of expansive soils was simulated in a controlled laboratory environment through allowing cyclic wetting and drying of an expansive soil underlying a pavement section. The shrink/swell effects of the expansive soil subgrade were examined through monitoring its change in moisture, and measuring deformation of overlying pavement section. The experimental study suggested that a geogrid layer in a reinforced pavement section can reduce surface differential shrinking and swelling deformation resulting from underlying expansive soils by a factor of 2 and 3 respectively in comparison to unreinforced section. Given that an oedometer test which is typically used to predict swelling potential of expansive soils is known to overpredict in-situ soil swell, experimental program also investigated quantitatively the extent to which the oedometer can overestimate swelling behaviour of the real-field scenarios. It was found that oedometer percent swell can overpredict in-situ swelling behaviour of the expansive soil by a factor ranging between 2 and 10 depending upon the period over which the in-situ expansive soil has been in contact with water.
Original languageEnglish
Article number210571
Number of pages25
JournalRwanda Journal of Engineering, Science, Technology and Environment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jul 2021


  • expansive soil
  • oedometer
  • longitudinal cracking
  • pavement
  • roughness


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