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Observation shows that climate warming is obvious in Canada, especially in the western and north-western Canada, which can accelerate permafrost degradation. Under the effect of transportation infrastructures construction and the global warming, underlying permafrost tends to be unstable, which can lead to negative impacts, especially in ice-rich warm permafrost regions. Permafrost degradation has already appeared, and many failures, such as differential settlements, sinkholes and longitudinal cracks, have happened along northern roads and airstrip, like the Alaska Highway in Yukon. This is reducing the level of infrastructure serviceability and increase risks for users. To keep the stability of embankment, different mitigation methods have been developed, and several techniques have been proved to be efficient in cooling permafrost underneath embankment. However, there are limited researches related to the mitigation techniques application in permafrost regions.
The goal of this research project is to determine the field application for each technique developed, and to produce a decision-tree to help select the right method considering the local context and needs. Many factors, such as soil type, mean annual ground temperature, total water content, climate warming, surface features, water seepage, embankment dimension, snow cover, meteorological conditions, construction problems, costs of construction and maintenance will be considered in the application of mitigation techniques in cold regions. Based on above factors, but not limited to these, different mitigation techniques will be compared to select the best cost-effective for some specific sites.
To achieve this, the following basic steps will be done: 1) improve the theory knowledge of mitigation techniques; 2) find the potential application conditions for each mitigation technique; 3) optimize the design of selected mitigation technique, and use numerical methods to compare cooling effects of different mitigation techniques; 4) conduct combined feasibility study and cost-effective analysis.
Also, field sites along Alaska Highway in Yukon, will be selected to apply mitigation techniques. The cooling effects will be tested, and the results will be used to validate the numerical models.