This paper summarizes the practice of highway embankment compaction in the loess plateau of northwestern China, based on a field trip and the related laboratory studies. A large number of high loess embankments were built across gullies. The compaction was based on the standard Proctor method (ASTM Test Method for Laboratory Compaction Characteristics of Soil Using Standard Effort, D698-91) during 1950 – 1985, and the modified Proctor method (ASTM Test Method for Laboratory Compaction Characteristics of Soil Using Modified Effort, D1557-91) after 1985. The performance of these embankments is described. Stability analysis and centrifuge tests are conducted to confirm the observations and improve designs. Storm water ponds are found to be critical to both stability and settlement. For embankments compacted using the standard Proctor method, progressive failure would start with any further erosion if the slopes were steeper than 1:0.75.
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