Monitoring of embankments

Monitoring of rail or road embankments on weak bearing-grounds

The foundation of road embankments on weak soils should result in the project and being included in a monitoring program. This occurs mainly in cases where the definition of the soil characteristics is not optimal, the design safety factors are low or when the consequences for the proper execution of the works are predictable.

Monitoring of embankments should examine the progress of consolidation, soil stability, changes in ground pore water pressure or groundwater level until a possible emergency situation is recognized and/or design and construction actions are taken.
Nevertheless, it is worth taking into account that the consolidation and deformation of the embankment and its foundations may have a significant impact on the assessment of the volume of soil involved in the execution of the works.

The values that need to be measured and analyzed are generally:
Vertical displacements of embankments and/or foundations
Groundwater level or pore pressure
Horizontal displacement of the embankment

The devices recommended for recognizing the mentioned quantities are:
Piezometers: open, closed, pore pressure
Geodetic measurements: leveling of ground benchmarks, pit benchmarks, GNSS
Hydraulic profilometers
Inclinometers (vertical/horizontal)


The type and number of instruments should be selected based on the characteristics and expected behavior of the ground. Various combinations and selection of devices can lead to a punctual, continuous or multi-point configuration of the monitoring system.
For a specific class of instruments, a dedicated automatic data collection system and a Web-GiS Platform can be implemented to have continuous and immediate access to the monitoring system.