U.S. Department of Defense


Date of this Version



Journal of Terramechanics 49 (2012) 95–101; doi:10.1016/j.jterra.2012.01.002


The US Army often operates heavy vehicles in rural areas, operating on low-volume roads having limited load carrying capacity. Many of these roads, such as the ones on the outskirts of Baghdad, have been raised to prevent flooding from nearby canals or irrigated fields. Sections of the roads have collapsed under the weight of armored vehicles, resulting in injuries and even fatalities. For the selected area studied, 2½% of the low-volume road sections were determined to be high risk given typical wheel loads of heavy vehicles for soil strength conditions modeled as low. The goal of the research was to develop a method for rapidly evaluating the stability of a road based on soil conditions, wheel load, and the dimensions of a vehicle. A model for road stability was developed to assist in performing analysis of the canal roads outside of Baghdad. This analysis was then used to create maps and charts characterizing road stability to assist the drivers. The procedure described in this paper can be used to evaluate elevated roads in other parts of the world.