Investigation To Ascertain The Causes Of Failure And Present Traffic Capacity Of Highways

Project and Seminar Material for Building Technology BT

Investigation To Ascertain The Causes Of Failure And Present Traffic Capacity Of Highways


The essence of this project work is to look into the causes of highway failure and the different types of failure which are presented along the Eliozu – New Airport road in Obio/Akpor L.G.A in River state, taken as a case study. Some factors identify as being responsible for the failure of the chosen road section includes, poor sub grade soil with questionable material. Ground water study is carried out, which give insight to it effect to the failure of the flexible pavement, lack of drainage facilities, improper pavement design, poor compaction and traffic volume increase and lack of maintenance are critically taken into consideration.

Traffic volume count and soil test analysis and test on asphalt such as extraction-gradation test, are properly carryout, of which it result gives an adequate insight to the various causes of the failure situation experience along the road section through this investigation, show that relative to pavement, base course, wearing course and sub base were to less than the requirement for effective functionality of the said road of case study. From the investigation carryout, useful recommendation are made to improve the design and proper ways of reducing the rate of failure in Nigerian highways.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of Study

In construction of highway, generally the roads are not designed to last forever. It is been designed to serve some purpose for a specific time. As it can be seen in engineering work, the life span of a road is always an important factor that must be taken into consideration as one of the criteria for the construction. This really depends on the factors like construction procedure and consideration, the soil water relationship, quality of workmanship during the construction and the type of maintenance culture adopted.

Many roads (Highway mostly) are seen widely as attaining the state of failure and show signs of distress before the expected life span used for construction is reach, due to the lack of factors such as lack of maintenance culture etc. many of our road today serve as death trap and hang out for hoodlums going by the number of accident recorded daily on them as a result of bad paved road.

Pavement failure can be defined as the failure of the constructed layer of durable material of specified thickness, usually of concrete, asphalt or bituminous materials assigned to carry wheeled vehicles. Due to the number of load passing through a pavement structure, some deflection of the surface and underlying layers occur. The deflection can be as a result of the excess load, poor material usage, and poor road foundation resulting from the nature of the soil or groundwater rise in the area of high groundwater level. If layers are lacking in strength, repeated applications causes roughening and cracking that ultimately lead to failure of the pavement structure.

The construction of the Eliozu-New Airport road, which was constructed a while ago, sudden failure due to improper investigation of either the soil composition or traffic capacity situation in the said section of the road networking, lack of proper drainage to control the effect of rise in groundwater level. The pavement thickness of the road section as measure was about 3.87inches (98.3mm) and the width of the dual carriage way about 7.9m with no proper shoulder and drainage provided.

The effort of put in controlling the rate of failure and provision for annually increase of traffic capacity has been a thing of burden to the government of the River State in particular and the Federal government in general. By questioning and observation, failure of the said Eliozu-New Airport road as it problem from compounded presence of water coming out at a particular points on the road surface poor material and workmanship and pressure from increasing traffic capacities on the road pavement of which the government is making provision for overhead bridge which is currently in construction and it is found out that most at a point like Eliozu junction by ABC shuttle, the pavement bituminous material on the road have disappear.

1.2 Problem of Study

In recent years, the growing volume of road traffic and its related problems in Nigeria have perhaps claimed more public attention than any other urban problems. The reason for this is quite clear. It is the most visible problem that affects everybody in urban centers today. For instance, in Rivers state, the fact that one owns a personal means of transport does not confer transportation comfort on such a person, because everyone experiences traffic delays and congestion problems on highways.

The main issue which this study seeks to address is the range of problems associated with the increase in the diversity and volume of vehicles on Obio Akpor, airport road, despite all efforts by the state government in the area of road development. There is no doubt that the problems would not be the same in scope and magnitude as revealed in the studies carried out in the 1990s.

1.3 Aims and Objective of Study

The major objective of this investigation is to ascertain factors that likely lead to the failure of Eliozu-New Airport road in Obio/Akpor L.G.A. of River State in particular and Nigeria Highways in general and how it affect national stability and development. This project work stand at a point to unveil the very facts behind why most of the roads fail soon after construction.

The count carryout will broadly provide information on the actual traffic volume and the capacity of traffic and will help in used for possible traffic planning and design.

It shall lead in proper construction of highway and remedy that will possible give a lasting solution and reduction in road failures. The several test such as test on asphalt, test on soil will provided better facts to the cause of the failure of the case study.

1.4 Research Questions

  1. What is the causes of highway traffic capacity in urban Rivers?
  2. What is the changes that have taken place in the road network of Eliozu-New airport, Obio/Akpor from the early 1990s to 2010?
  3. What is the the road capacity – volume ratio for a normal day at critical traffic congestion points in the highway?
  4. What are the factors responsible for the identified transport problems in urban Rivers?
  5. What are the solutions towards addressing the problems?

1.5 Scope of the Project Study

The whole section of the road was visited (Reconnaissance) and failure pattern noted.

The project scope includes:

  1. Assessment of kind of failure and causes on the Eliozu-New Airport road.
  2. Soil samples collection and testing and analysis to determine the sub-grade, sub-base strength of the road foundation.
  3. Assessment of underground water level and its affect on the pavement.
  4. Assessment of traffic capacity intensity on the networking plan of the road and volume determination.
  5. Assessment of drainage condition and proper drainage provision.
  6. Assessment of the proportion and amount of bitumen and finer used in the Asphalt mixture used for the surface course.
  7. Classification of the soil according to ASSHATO classification system.
  8. Enumeration of possible pavement distresses that are found along a road section.

1.6 Background Information of the Study Area

The location of which this investigation is been carryout is a road network located at Obio/Akpor L.G.A at the out script of Port-Harcourt, River State. The road is from Eliozu junction to Airport road leading to Elele of which concentration is lay on the Eliozu junction where ABC shuttle is, at where over head bridge is undergoing construction currently to where the Eliozu-New airport road intersect with the airport road.

1.7 Limitation of the Study

This research was carried out under the limits of the available material and resources. The work is centre on soil sample testing and classification, asphalt testing and traffic volume and effect of groundwater on road bases.

The following factors hinder the prompt attainment of this project work.

  1. Lack of laboratory facilities
  2. Cost of the project work
  3. Time proximities.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Summary of Major Findings

This study analyzed the failure of highway traffic capacity in Eliozu-New airport, Obio/Akpor. The results obtained revealed that there is the development in the road network of Obio/Akpor L.G.A studied over two time periods of 1990s and 2000s. And the traffic count results indicated that the number of motorcycles, tricycles and motor vehicles that are moving on the roads and converging at most of the road junctions exceeded the capacity of available lanes meant for them. The reasons for this is that the width of the lanes were not designed to carry the present volume of vehicles. In addition, trading activities, indiscriminate parking and ineffective transport planning were perceived by the majority of commuters and the traffic warden in Obio/Akpor L.G.A as part of the problems. Also illegal bus stops and violation of traffic control light by road users were ranked as very significant causes of failure of highway traffic capacity in Eliozu-New airport, Obio/Akpor.

5.2 Conclusion

Inspite of the growth which has been recorded in Eliozu-New airport, Obio/Akpor highway, there are still many problems which impede the smooth flow of traffic in the city. These problems are related to infrastructural facilities, human factors and management problems. The findings show that absence of traffic light on most of the road junctions, insufficient road width are some of the major factors contributing to traffic problems in Eliozu-New airport, Obio/Akpor. In addition, increasing urbanization, violation of traffic control light by road users and overlaps and conflicts among agencies responsible for implementing transport solutions are some of the human factors as well as management problems obstructing traffic problems in the study area.

5.3 Recommendations

For effective traffic flow and perfect road transportation system in Obio/Akpor L.G.A, the following measures are recommended.

  1. There is the need for relocating of Sabon Gari, Singa and Kwari markets from the present position. This will reduce travel volume generated by trading around the urban core.
  2. The road transport authorities in the state should intensify traffic education and awareness campaign for private and commercial drivers and motorcycle and tricycle riders.
  3. It is suggested that more bus stops and parking spaces be provided to prevent indiscriminate parking and stopping at prohibited places, thereby causing unnecessary congestions on the narrow roads.
  4. Flyovers should be built in the highway without none to ease traffic congestions.
  5. There is need for the installation of more traffic light signals and roads signs in the highway.
  6. There is need for strong law enforcement agency in the highway by the appropriate authorities against illegal parkings and illegal bus stops.

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