Through the month of June, we introduced you to A-GaME and shared several techniques in its toolbox. States using A-GaME commonly report that there is no single method or combination of methods that works for all projects. We encourage you to consider all advanced geotechnical methods and select the appropriate ones for your projects.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) has successfully used multiple A-GaME techniques for years, and routinely uses alternative geotechnical methods throughout the project lifecycle, wherever appropriate.
In one case, MnDOT expected highly variable bedrock in the vicinity of planned bridge structure in Duluth, MN. Due to its sensitive location near a trout stream, it was undesirable to clear trees and vegetation for traditional site characterization. Instead, the agency used an A-GaME technique called electrical resistivity to identify the irregular bedrock surface and create an interpreted profile. MnDOT used this information to successfully complete the project with minimal disturbance to the site. This project relied solely on geophysical methods for foundation investigation. While relying on geophysical methods alone is uncommon, this project illustrates that proven yet non-conventional approaches can help agencies successfully characterize sites while considering specific project risks.
To learn how your agency can integrate these proven, innovative geotechnical methods into its site characterization program, contact Ben Rivers of the FHWA Resource Center or Silas Nichols of the FHWA Office of Infrastructure.