Geotechnical Appraisal and Geological Influence on Road Failure: A New Perspective in Geotechnical Engineering

  • Osakpolor Marvellous Omorogieva
  • Isaac Okiti
Keywords: Road failure, Earth material, Geology, Geotechnical, Incessant


Four samples of red tropical soils (RTSs) were obtained were obtained along 164 km Benin-Auchi-Igarra Highway at notable points/places which include Etete (Benin City), Sabo (Auchi), Ikpeshi and Igarra with the aim of determining their geotechnical properties in ascertaining the causes of the incessant road failure often recorded along the road network as well as the geology of the environment. The tests carried out in accordance with the British Standard Institution (BSI), Unified Soil Classification System (USCS)and American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) include; Atterberg limits tests, particle size distribution (PSD), specific gravity (Gs), compaction characteristics and California Bearing Ratio (CBR).Based on USCS classification, Etete (Benin City), Sabo (Auchi) and Ikpeshi have high percentage of sand with little silt (silt sand) whereas Igarra soil contains more of silt with little sand (sand silt). Conversely, AASHTO classification puts Etete (Benin) and Ikpeshi as A-2-4, Sabo (Auchi) as A-3 and Igarra as A-2-7, respectively. These classifications are good to excellent but cannot be applied as sub-base nor base course for roads construction because of their mineralogy and or chemical composition. However, they are better material for sub-grade; hence, result values from Benin, Auchi and Ikpeshi can serve as a good subgrade material, while Igarra soil can serve as a sub-grade material for class S1 road designed to have a minimum thickness of 250 mm. Ultimately, it is advised that soils with low bearing capacity should be stabilized by compaction in order to yield maximum strength on the dry side of their respective optimum moisture content (OMC). The study concludes that the incessant road failure is attributed the wrong uses of TRSs as sub base and base course and non-consideration of the geological influence of the source material.


AASHTO, 2002. Standard specifications for transportation materials and methods of sampling and testing. Twentieth Edition, Washington D.C.

Abebaw, Z., 2005. Basic engineering properties of lateritic soils found in Nejo-Mendi Road construction area, Welega. Addis Ababa University, School of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Technology, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa.

Aginam, C.H., Nwakaire, C., Nwajuaku, A.I., 2015. Engineering properties of lateritic soils from Anambra central zone, Nigeria. International Journal of Soft Computing and Engineering 4, 2231-2307.

Akujieze, C.N., 2004. Effects of anthropogenic activities on urban groundwater system and aquifer vulnerability assessment in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria. Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of Benin, Nigeria.

Akujieze, C.N., Irabor, E.E.I., 2014. Assessment of environmental degradation of soil and groundwater: A case study of waste disposal in Benin West Moat-Ekenwan gully Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria. African Journal of Environmental Science and Technology 8 (6), 381-390.

Akujieze, C.N., Oteze, G.E., 2006. Groundwater quality of Benin City urban aquifer of the Pleistocene-Oligocene Benin Formation Nigeria. African Scientist l 7 (2), 54-60.

Amu, O., Adetuberu, A.A., 2010. Characteristics of bamboo leaf ash stabilization on lateritic soil in highway construction. International Journal of Engineering Technology 2 (4), 212-219.

Bello, A.A., Adegoke, C.W., 2010. Evaluation of geotechnical properties of Ilesha east southwestern Nigeria lateritic soil. Pacific Journal of Science and Technology 11(2), 617-624.

British Standard Institution, 1990. Methods of test for soils for civil engineering properties. British Standard Institution, London, UK. 143p.

Cardarelli, F., 2008. Material handbook: a concise desktop reference. Springer P 601.ISBN 9781846286681.

Chegg, 2020. Moisture content. Chegg Study. Accessed online at:

D’Hoore, J., 1954. Studies on the accumulation of sesquioxides in tropical soils, national institute for agronomy. Belgiancongo Scientific Series 62, 1-132.

Edegbai, A.J., 2019. Sedimentology and geochemistry of the Campano-Maastrichtian mudstones of the Mamu Formation, Benin Flank, SW Anambra Basin, Nigeria. Ph.D. Dissertationzur Erlangung des Doktorgrades der
Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftlichen Fakultät der Christian- Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel 230p.

Edegbai, A.J., Emofurieta, W.O., 2015. Preliminary assessment of source rock potential and palynofacies analysis of Maastrichtian dark shale, SW Anambra basin. Ife Journal of Science 17 (1), 131-139.

Edegbai, A.J., Schwark, L., Oboh-Ikuenobe, F.E., 2018. Campano- Maastrichtian paleoenvironment, paleotectonics and sediment provenance of western Anambra Basin, Nigeria: Multi-proxy evidences from the Mamu Formation. Conference of the EGU General Assembly, 21, EGU2019-144-1.

Edegbai, A.J., Schwark, L., Oboh-Ikuenobe, F.E. 2019. A review of the latest Cenomanian to Maastrichtian geological evolution of Nigeria and its stratigraphic and paleogeographic implications. Journal of African Earth Sciences 150, 823-837.

Ehinola, O.A., Sonibare, O.O., Falode, O.A., Awofala, B.O., 2005. Hydrocarbon potential and thermal maturity of Nkporo shale from lower Benue Trough. Journal of Applied Sciences 5, 689-695.

Ekweozor, C.M., Gormly, J.R., 1983. Petroleum geochemistry of Late Cretaceous and Early Tertiary shales penetrated by Akukwa 2 well in the Anambra basin southern Nigeria. Journal of Petroleum Geology 6, 207-216.

Federal Ministry of Works Nigeria, 2013. General specifications for roads and bridges. Federal Highway Department Lagos, Nigeria, 3, 145-284.

Ikhile, C.L., 2016. Geomorphology and hydrology of the Benin region, Edo state, Nigeria. International Journal of Geoscience 7, 144-157.

Ilevbare, M., Omorogieva, O.M., 2020. Formation evaluation of the petrophysical properties of wells in E - Field onshore Niger Delta, Nigeria. Nigeria Journal of Technology 39 (4), 926-971.

Imran, M.A., Rabbany, H.M.A., Islam, M.T., Sharon, M.M.H. 2015. Assessment on the road pavement failure and maintenance of Rajshahi City. International Conference on Recent Innovation in Civil Engineering for Sustainable
Development (IICSD-2015).

Jiregna, D., 2008. Detailed investigation on index properties of lateritic soils: the case of Nedjo-Mendi-Assosa. Master’s Thesis, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Justin, U., 2018. Analysis of the causes of road failure in some parts of Nigeria (A Review). Retrieved August 25, 2020. Available:

Maignien, R., 1966. Review of research on laterites. UNESCO, Natural Resources Res. 4, 148p.

Maju-Oyovwikowhe, G.E., Malomi, B.P., 2019. Evaluation of hydrocarbon potential, quality of source rock facies, and delineating of their depositional environment in Mamu Formation of Anambra Basin, Nigeria. Journal of Applied Sciences and Environmental Management 23 (3), 383-388. Doi:

Mohammed, H., Dahunsi, B.I.O., 2012. Effects of natural moisture content on selected engineering properties of soils. Transnational Journal of Science and Technology 2 (5), 29-47.

Murat, R.C., 1972. Stratigraphy and paleogeogragraph of the Cretaceous and Lower Tertiary in the southern Nigeria. In Dessauvagie, TFJ, Whitman AJ (Eds), African Geology, University of Ibadan Press, 251-226.

Northmore, K.J., Culshaw, M.G., Hobbs, P.R.N., Hallam, J., Entwisle, D.C., 1992. Engineering geology of tropical red clay soils. Mudstones of the Mercia Mudstone Group, British Geological Survey, Urban Geoscience and Geological Hazards Programme Research Report RR/01/02.

Nwachukwu, J.I., 1976. Approximate geothermal gradients in the Niger delta sedimentary basin. AAPG Bulletin 69, 1073-1077.

Nwajide, C.S., Reijer,s T.J.A., 1996. Geology of southern Anambra Basin. In: Reijers TJA (ed.). Selected Chapters on Geology, 131-148p.

Obi, G.C., Okogbue, C.O., 2004. Sedimentary response to tectonismin the Campanian–Maastrichtian succession, Anambra Basin, Southeastern Nigeria. Journal of African Earth Sciences 38, 99-108.

Ocan, C.O., Coker, S.L., Egbuniwe, I.G., 2003. The geology of Igarra-Auchi area. Excursion Guide at the Annual Conference of the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society (NMGS), Itakpe, Nigeria.

Odeyemi, I.B., 1990. The petrology of a Pan-African pluton in Igarra area, southwestern Nigeria. Nigerian Journal of Sciences 24 (142), 181-193.

Ogunsanwo, O., 1989. CBR and Shear strengths of Compacted Lateritic Soils from Southwestern Nigeria. Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology 22, 317-328.

Ojo, S.O., Ologe, K.O., 1999. Countdown to senior secondary certificate examination geography revised edition: Evans Brothers Nigeria Publisher p 421.

Okogbue, C.O., Onyeobi, T.U.S., 1999. Potential of marble dust to stabilize red tropical soils for road construction. Engineering Geology 53, 371-380.

Okigbo, N., 2012. Causes of highway failures in Nigeria. International Journal of Engineering Science and Technology 4 (11), 4695-4703.

Okiotor, M.E., Asuen, G.O., 2019. Investigation of sediments migration from the Abakaliki Anticlinorium to the Anambra basin-a geostatistical approach. Society of Petroleum Engineers SPE-198774-MS:1-18.

Okiotor, M.E., Ighodalo, E.J., 2020. Geotechnical appraisal of the Mamu shales exposure around Igodor in the Benin flank of Anambra basin. Journal of Applied and Environmental Management 24 (3), 489-493.

Okiti, I., 2016. Geotechnical properties of four red tropical soil in southwestern Nigeria. M.Sc. Thesis, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria, 88p.

Omontese, O.S., Imasuen, O.I., Uzoegbu, M.U., Lucas, F.A., Omorogieva, O.M., 2019. Biomarker geochemistry of Nkporo shale from Ndi-Owerre in the Afikpo basin, southeast Nigeria. International Journal of Geology and Mining 5 (2), 281-286.

Omorogieva, O.M., Tonjoh, A.J., 2020. Bioavailability of heavy metal load in soil, groundwater, and food crops manihot esculenta and carica papaya in dumpsite environment. International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology 17, 4853-4864.

Omorogieva, O.M., 2018. Application of ArcGIS in modelling groundwater and the health risk assessment in dumpsite environment in Benin city, south-western Nigeria. PhD Dissertation University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria. 189p.

Onyeobi, T.U.S., 1985. The chemistry, mineralogy and engineering properties of two red tropical soil profiles. Ph.D. Thesis, Department of Civil Engineering, University of leeds, UK, 338p.

Osula, D.O.A., 1991. Lime modification of problem laterites. Journal of Engineering Geology 30, 141-153.

Oyediran, I.A., Durojaiye, H.F., 2011. Variability in the geotechnical properties of some residual clay soils from southwestern Nigeria. International Journal of Scientific and Engineering Research 2 (9), 235-240.

Pavement Interactive, 2020. Subgrade performance. Available:

Pavement Manual, 2007. Pavement materials: soils and their classification. Available:

Rahaman, M.A., 1976. Review of the basement geology of Southwestern Nigeria. In: Kogbe, CA, Geology of Nigeria, Elizabethan Publications Company, Lagos, 41-58p.

Rahardjo, H., Aung, K.K., Leong, E.C., Rezam, R.B., 2004. Characteristics of residual soils in Singapore as formed by
weathering. Journal of Engineering Geology 73, 157-169.

Raychaudhuri, S.P., 1980. The occurrence, distribution, classification and management of laterite and lateritic soils. Journee Georges Aubert 18, 249-252.

Reijers, T.J.A., Petters, S.W., Nwajide, C.S., 1997. The Niger delta basin. In: RC Selley (ed): African basins; sedimentary basins of the world. Amsterdam Elsevier Science 3, 151-172.

Rodriguez, J., 2020. Sub base or subgrade: improving soil conditions. Available:

Roy Chowdhuby, M.K.O., Venkatesh, V., Anandalwar, M.A., Paul, D.K., 1965. Recent concept on the origin of Indian
laterites. Geological Survey of Indian, Calcutta 31 (6), 547-558.

Roy, S., 2016. Assessment of Soaked California Bearing Ratio Value Using Geotechnical Properties of Soils. Resources and Environment 6 (4), 80-87. Doi: 10.5923/

Short, K.C., Stauble, A.J., 1967. Outline of the geology of Niger Delta. AAPG Bulletin 51, 761-776.

Smith, G.N., 1988. Elements of soil mechanics for civil and mining engineers (7th Ed.). Blackwell Scientific Publication: London, UK.

Tardy, Y., 1997. Petrology of laterites and tropical soils. Illustrated Edition, Francis and Taylor, 419 p.

Tender Document Specification, 2020. Aggregate or granular sub base. Division 02 Surface Course, 1-7p. Available:

Tijani, M.N., Nton, M.E., Kitagawa, R., 2010. Textural and geochemical characteristics of the Ajali Sandstone, Anambra basin, SE Nigeria: implication for its provenance. Comptes Rendus Geoscience 342, 136-150.

Tuncer, E.R., Lohnes, R.A., 1977. An engineering classification for certain basalt-derived lateritic Soils. Engineering Geology 11, 319-339.

Wikipedia, 2020. Laterite. Accessed online at: