Evaluation of Long-Term Performance of Transportation Earthworks Prone to Weather-Driven Deterioration Under Changing Climate

Earthworks play a vital role in the transportation network, providing essential support for long, linear stretches of highways and railways not only in California but also globally. However, these earthworks are susceptible to weather-related deterioration processes that can gradually compromise their stability and, in some cases, lead to unexpected failures, particularly in aging infrastructure. Weather-driven deterioration involves a complex suite of mechanisms that gradually alter the hydromechanical properties of soils over time, including seasonal variations in pore pressure due to changing weather and climate. These complex processes introduce considerable uncertainty regarding the rate of deterioration and the current condition of existing earthworks assets. Further, climate change, along with the associated shifts in weather patterns, is projected to adversely impact the hydromechanical behavior of geotechnical infrastructure including transportation earthworks and on the rate of their weather-driven deterioration. The aim of this proposed research project is to evaluate the impact of climate change on the rate of weather-driven deterioration of earthworks in California. The specific objectives of the proposed project include

  • development of a multi-phase hydromechanical geotechnical models that will serve as deterministic models simulating long-term performance of transportation earthworks typically constructed in California;
  • generation of climate perturbed parameter ensembles (PPEs) representative to the various districts in California,
  • selection of ranges of geotechnical material properties representative to materials used in California earthworks;
  • performance of parametric based on an ‘experimental’ design that maximizes the coverage of a parameter range with minimum number of simulations;
  • prediction of long-term performance of earthworks on a network scale under various climate change scenarios;
  • training of undergraduate research students; and
  • development of a final report.
Principal Investigator: 
Amr M. Morsy
PI Contact Information: 


CSU Long Beach

January 2024 to December 2024
Project Number: 



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