Embankment Engineering

Long term serviceability and aesthetics of any civil work require the application of combined skills throughout the design and during construction.  The use of natural materials for building embankments is a case where this exercise can be successfully conducted.  We tend to imagine an embankment as a naive construction having a trapezoidal cross section and spanning long distance over a flat area, however there are worldwide very good examples for these particular works, either being high railways embankments built on difficult soils, or large earth dams offering safe and economical methods of storing water.

Embankment construction implies the continuous verify of the project, both for soil foundation assessment and material acceptability.  Often it is recommendable that the designer also has charge of supervising the building, and this option is encouraged by some governments, which allow reducing total cost of the technical activities if these are undertaken by the same person.  When problems arise during construction the designer is probably better than others in making adjustments without betraying the original concepts.  There is of course the risk of bias, but this drawback can be minimized by the effective use of third parts appointed for the high surveillance of the works.