Volume 34, N. 2

May-August 2011

Evaluation of Rockfall Hazard Along Brazil Roads

Case Study

Volume 34, N. 2, May-August 2011 | PDF (2 downloads)


The Brazilian road network is constructed in a highly heterogeneous geological environment and some stretches cross through discontinuous rock masses that have uncertain or even ignored geotechnical characteristics. Rock slopes are potentially unstable surfaces and as such are susceptible to rockfalls that affect the highway’s user safety, transportation infrastructure and surrounding environment. The geomechanical behavior of rock masses and also the geometric and traffic conditions of highways are fundamental aspects of rockfall evaluation. This research presents a case study of rockfall evaluation for slopes bordering highway sections, aiming to classify them and determine a hierarchy for intervention, based on defined criteria. The presented method could be used as a first step in the study of stabilization techniques for problems caused by rockfalls from highway slopes. In order to use this approach, field investigations including geomechanical classification of rock mass are necessary. In this context, twelve slope sections containing rock slopes in Espirito Santo’s road network were investigated. The slopes were analyzed individually and the influence of each parameter in the global rating was evaluated. Parameter effectiveness in the proposed method was also evaluated. The slopes were classified to define priority measures to minimize roadway problems in each place

Keywords: rockfall, slope, highway,

Submitted on March 03, 2010.
Final Acceptance on September 21, 2010.
Discussion open until December 30, 2011.