Engineering geology as applied to highway construction

Open-File Report 55-46



A geologic study of the site for a relocated segment of State Highway 93 northwest of Denver Colo., was made by by the Engineering Geology Branch of the U.S. Geological Survey as a demonstration of the applicability of geologic mapping to problems of highway construction. The relocated segment provides access to the Rocky Flats plant of the Atomic Energy Commission.  

The geologic conditions along five miles of the relocation route were examined.  In most places apparently well-indurated sandstones of the Upper Cretaceous Fox Hills sandstone and Laramie formation can be excavated without using explosives. The intersection of a six foot thick coal seam in the roadbed in one proposed cut was predicted and removal and replacement with more suitable subgrade material was recommended.  Near Marshall the alignment crosses three northeast-trending normal faults which do not adversely affect the highway.

Clay minerals with expanding properties are present in some of the claystones of the Laramie, and special measures must be taken to ensure that ground water will not seep into them and cause swelling beneath the roadbed.  Late Tertiary or Early Quaternary gravel cap pediments along the mountain front.  Ground water issuing from seeps and springs found at the contact between these gravels and the underlying bedrock should be intercepted and removed from beneath the roadbed.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Engineering geology as applied to highway construction
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 55-46
DOI 10.3133/ofr5546
Year Published 1955
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Description vi, 107 p.
Country United States
State Colorado
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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