Performance of Sustainable Road Pavements Founded on Clay Subgrades Treated with Eco-Friendly Cementitious Materials

Samuel Amakye*, Samuel Abbey, Colin Booth, Jonathan Oti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Clays encountered during road construction are mostly weak and result in major pavement failures due to their low California bearing ratio (CBR) and high swelling potential. In this study, sustainable and eco-friendly waste materials including brick dust waste (BDW), ground granulated blastfurnance slag (GGBS), recycled plastic (RP) and recycled glass (RG) at varying proportions of 11.75% and 23.5% were used as partial replacement for cement and lime in clay treatment. After determining the water content by conducting Atterberg limit and compaction test, A CBR and swell characteristics of treated and untreated clay were also conducted. A road pavement design was conducted using the Design Manual for Road and Bridges (DMRB) as a guide to determine the performance of treated clay with varying CBR values. A road pavement failure analysis was also conducted to understand the defect formation within pavement structures supported by eco-friendly treated clay. The embodied carbon of treated clay was calculated and a life cycle cost analysis (LCCA) of flexible pavement with treated clay and road with imported materials was conducted. The results show a liquid limit of 131.26 and plastic limit of 28.74 for high plasticity index (clay 1) and liquid limit of 274.07 and a plastic limit of 45.38 for extremely high plasticity index (clay 2). An increase in CBR values from 8% and 9% to 57% and 97% with a reduction in swell values from 4.11% and 5.03% to 0.38% and 0.56% were recorded. This resulted in a reduction in pavement thickness and stresses within the road pavement leading to reduced susceptibility of the pavement to fatigue, rutting and permanent deformation. Very low embodied carbon was recorded for eco-friendly treated clay and a high life cycle cost (LCC) with clay removed and replaced with imported materials compared with clay treated using eco-friendly waste materials. The study concluded that carbon and overall construction costs can be reduced using waste materials in road construction. Owners and operators can save money when clay is treated and used in road construction instead of removing clay and replacing it with imported materials.
Original languageEnglish
Article number12588
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2022


  • brick dust waste
  • eco-friendly solutions
  • pavement
  • clay
  • economic appraisal
  • life cycle cost analysis
  • fatigue
  • rutting
  • deformation


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