Embankment stabilization along Highway 73

About this project

North Dakota Department of Transportation
North Dakota
$10 million (approximate)
completion date


Engineering Excellence Award
ACEC/ND  2020

After years of landslide activity along a portion of Highway 73 in the Missouri River Badlands, a repair was implemented but unsuccessful. The North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) turned to Barr and another consultant to permanently stabilize the roadway embankment. The soils at the site include high-plasticity clays with limited long-term shear strength and coal seams carrying groundwater that can contribute to slope failures.

We conducted a geotechnical field investigation, installing piezometers and inclinometers that could be read remotely to allow more frequent tracking of groundwater and slope movement and provide a better understanding of the problem. One inclinometer, developed by Measurand, Inc., was the first of its kind and capable of measuring larger displacements like those observed at the site.

The instrumentation data, combined with geologic field mapping and an extensive laboratory testing program, enabled us to better characterize the soils’ shear strength and determine the nature and extent of the landslide, including the significant impact that drainage conditions and water pressures had on movement. Instrumentation and site reconnaissance showed that the landslide was much larger than previously identified.

Testing and investigation results were used in seepage and slope-stability analyses to develop and assess stabilization options, which were presented to NDDOT. The option selected for final design involves installation of large-diameter concrete drilled shafts to pin the sliding mass on one side of the road and a deep interceptor trench to collect groundwater on the other.

The Highway 73 project won a 2020 Engineering Excellence Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies of North Dakota.

Key team members

Miguel Wong

Vice President
Senior Civil Engineer

Aaron Grosser

Vice President
Senior Geotechnical Engineer

Jed Greenwood

Vice President
Senior Geotechnical Engineer

Related Transportation projects

Landfill-gas monitoring at remediated dump to support brownfield redevelopment
Spillway upgrades at St. Cloud Dam
Air dispersion modeling for distributed-generation plant
Landscape master plan for watershed district
Park and landscape design for Mouse River enhanced flood protection project
O&M manual for green-infrastructure stormwater BMPs
Design and prioritization of spillway gate repairs
Coffee Creek trout stream restoration
Detailed assessment of phosphorus sources and loading to Minnesota watersheds
Engineering design for HDD pipeline replacement under highway
Groundwater monitoring for Fridley Filtration Plant rehabilitation
Incident energy and arc flash hazard analyses of three facilities
Natural-resources management plan for suburban park
Routine electrical, controls, and instrumentation support
Feasibility design and inspections of an urban stormwater-management tunnel
Dam safety consultations for SaskPower
Snowpack monitoring and lake drawdown for Minnesota watershed district
Preliminary engineering for Mouse River enhanced flood protection project
Groundwater modeling for 1,4-dioxane
First-of-its-kind spent-lime stormwater BMP treatment system
Environmental impact assessment for mountain-bike trail
Albert Lea Lake outlet modifications
Penn Avenue sinkhole investigation and rehabilitation
Oxbow-Hickson-Bakke ring-levee flood protection
Development of sewer plan and update of model
Upper Sheyenne River erosion and sedimentation risk assessment
Bathymetry and sediment studies for dredging and restoration of Minnesota lake
Mine closure and reclamation
Water supply sustainability study for City of Rochester
Monitoring of constructed wetland for groundwater remediation
Natural resources inventory and stewardship recommendations
Water-quality modeling and mapping for watershed district
Infiltration updates to the Minnesota Stormwater Manual
Stormwater storage facility for major Minneapolis interstate artery
Retrofit design for a city-campus parking lot
Water-quality and sediment-dredging study to restore a phosphorus-impaired lake
Advanced oxidation process pilot evaluation for municipal drinking-water system
Rapid response planning for aquatic invasive species
Greenway design to treat stormwater and mitigate flooding
Inspection, design, and construction oversight for tunnel rehabilitation
Stormwater retrofits along redesigned urban streets
Waste-gas scrubber design engineering for taconite pellet plant
Assessment and remediation of former dump site on university campus
EMIS implementation and related assistance
Inspection and repair of urban stormwater tunnels
Updating of Lake Superior chemical source inventory
Earthen embankments reduce flooding and sediment loading in rural creek
Upgrade of wastewater treatment system
Bridge movement monitoring
Engine compliance tool update
Project prioritization tool for Minnesota watershed district
Natural resources master plan
Vulnerability assessment of municipal stormwater system
Vulnerability assessment of a city’s aging storm sewer system
Flood-control modeling and system upgrades in urban neighborhoods
Groundwater modeling for wellhead-protection-plan amendment
Sediment removal from beneath Vermillion River bridge
Flood forecast mapping for city's emergency response and planning efforts
Sustainable site design for watershed district headquarters
Air-quality permitting and compliance support at pipeline terminals
Environmental permitting and compliance support at terminals
Living-streets planning provides framework for alternative street reconstruction
Improvements to municipal flood-risk-protection system
Green infrastructure treats stormwater along light rail corridor
Monitoring and maintenance of remediation system at wood-treating site
Engineering services for municipal wastewater-treatment facility
Groundwater-surface water study of McKenna Lake
West Side Flats park and stormwater design
Powerhouse and turbine replacement at Redwood Falls
Highway 55 storm-tunnel inspection
District stormwater management system for redeveloping urban center
Creation of LID master plan for stormwater management
Modeling and failure risk assessment of a municipal storm sewer system
Highwall stability assessment
XP-SWMM model update and calibration for Minnesota watershed
Demonstration rainwater gardens reduce stormwater runoff
Flood risk reduction of suburban lakes
Letter of map revision for Minnesota city
Infrastructure inspection program for Minnesota watershed district
GHG compliance monitoring for oil sands facility
Discovery Point ecological restoration
Hiawatha Golf Course alternatives analysis and master planning
Identification of wetland restoration opportunities
Air-quality-permitting support for refinery assets
Investigation and design for Freeway Landfill
Stormwater basin retrofits for water quality improvement
Watershed management planning for Minnesota watershed district
Whitewater State Park stream restoration
Hennepin County sustainable landscape guidelines
Removing dissolved metals from roadway runoff using ferric-oxide filtration
Stormwater-management minimal impact design standards and BMP design calculator
West River Parkway landslide repair
Hydropower facility evaluation and due diligence
Landslide stabilization and corridor repair for state highway
Public-space and sustainable stormwater management decision-making framework
FERC relicensing of Ford Lake Dam
Spillway design for iron-ore-mining and mineral-processing facility
Gate automation for the Soo Locks compensating works
Water quality and ecological improvements to an urban lake
Stormwater-development reviews for urban WMO
Developing health assessment tools for wind-turbine towers and foundations
Reclaimed mineland offers worldclass mountain biking and economic development
Natural stormwater-treatment system and park redevelopment
Hydrology and hydraulic modeling of a tunnel system
Concept-level design of wastewater discharge option
Sweeney Lake and Schaper Pond water-quality improvement
One Watershed, One Plan development for southern Minnesota watershed district
Vapor-mitigation implementation and maintenance at business center
Upgraded levee system manages flood risk for Minot residents
EIS preparation and third-party environmental review of transmission line
Environmental review and permitting for natural-gas-distribution projects
Hall's Island and Scherer site reconstruction
Minnehaha Park lower glen restoration
Minnetonka Mills Park design
Wetland replacement assistance for highway project
Design of an LED lighting system for a downtown streetscape
Groundwater-flow model of the Twin Cities metro area
Fast-track realignment of a storm sewer
Remediation and redevelopment of historic dump
Development of a citywide GIS-based stormwater management water-quality model
Lilydale Regional Park stormwater management and slope stabilization
PFOS investigation at municipal wastewater plant
Municipal drinking-water wellhouse evaluation and design
Flood risk reduction for North Dakota city
Shoreline stabilization and restoration of Lake Minnetonka’s Big Island
Stormwater infrastructure management assistance
Restoration of trout habitat in Vermilion River
Aquatic invasive species (AIS) management in a Wisconsin lake
Stormwater-basin retrofits improve water quality and habitat
Evaluating tunnel system pressure
Natural stormwater-treatment system and park redevelopment
Cost analysis for meeting water quality standards
Green infrastructure retrofit of an urban shopping-mall parking lot
Remedial investigation, negotiation, and design for Superfund site
Dry Spotted Tail Creek stream restoration
Preliminary feasibility study for PFAS-related water quality concerns
Stormwater-development reviews for an urban watershed district
Urban watershed stormwater-development and permit reviews
Remediation and residential redevelopment of Whitehall Leather site
Rockford dam removal
Regulatory-compliance assistance for Freeway Landfill
Ecological residential development design preserves nature and city growth
Groundwater modeling and remedial improvements at closed landfills
Hall’s Island redevelopment and restoration
City of New Brighton water treatment plant design
Redevelopment services for New Brighton Exchange
Stressor-identification report for an impaired urban stream
Strategic planning for Freeway Landfill
Brownfields redevelopment for Mississippi WMO headquarters
Post-flood stream assessment and natural channel design
Tongue River assessment
Brownfields redevelopment for watershed district headquarters
Preliminary design for PFAS-related drinking-water treatment
Groundwater modeling for water-supply wellfield expansion
Renovation of historic Peavey Plaza in downtown Minneapolis
Structural and electrical engineering for coal-dryer load-out improvements
Environmental review for natural gas pipelines
Poplar Bluff substation upgrade
Redevelopment of former Atlas Cement plant
Aquifer storage and recovery and water sustainability evaluation and implementation
Transmission line upgrades for reliable power delivery
arc-flash analysis at Coal Creek Station
Willow River Dam rock arch rapids design services
Water-quality and structural monitoring for channel dredging
Permitting assistance for partial repowering of wind facility
Environmental review and permitting for windfarm repowering
Air-quality services for steel company
Flood risk management system upgrades and FEMA certification
Design for spillway replacement at Bond Falls Dam
Hastings levee certification
Analysis of microbial ecology in selenium bioreactor
Statistical analysis of coal-silo vibrations
Rushford levee system remediation
Upgrades to mineral processing plant
Calculating stormwater fees via remote-sensing technology
TMDL study and water quality assessment for a suburban stream
Gate upgrade at Island Lake Dam
Acid-generating rock identification and mitigation
PFAS-impacted drinking water response and treatment plant design
Blaine water treatment plant 4
UAS topographic data collection for habitat restoration design
Permitting and nondegradation services for sugar-beet facility
City of Minnetonka natural resources management plan
Spring Lake Park Reserve natural resources management plan
Cathodic protection design for pipeline projects
Metropolitan Council sustainable landscape guidelines
Grassy Point and Kingsbury Bay habitat restoration
Engineering and design for the rehabilitation of Karey Dam
AWIA risk and emergency compliance for urban drinking water
Tailings dam safety inventory and semiquantitative risk analysis
Environmental assessment program for highway safety improvements
CFD modeling of stormwater tunnels
CFD modeling for spillway replacement
Park and water-feature evaluation and renovation
Rock-fall protections at Interstate State Park
Sustainable landscape master plan for Abbott Northwestern Hospital
Air permitting assistance for manufacturing coating facility
Design of repairs to leaking reservoir
Park and trail conceptual design for the city of Biwabik
Redesign and optimization of crystallizer piping
Permitting and field review for natural gas pipeline replacement
Great lakes coastal wetland restoration feasibility study
Highland Bridge (Ford Site) green stormwater infrastructure
Bloomington natural resources prioritization and management
Purgatory Park restoration master plan
Natural resources management plan for recreational area
Climate adaptation and resiliency plan
Road raise and conceptual design
Multi-phase levee alterations for the City of Des Moines, Iowa
Flood-control-system upgrades and certification
Strategy for collecting lake-morphometry data
Third-party dam safety review of tailings-storage facility
Combined hydrologic, hydraulic and water quality model for watershed planning
Detailed 1D/2D and 2D HECRAS modeling for watershed management