One of the multi-million Naira dual carriageways in Nigeria, the Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway, has continued to experience failure at some sections, namely the stretches covering Lokpaukwu, Lokpanta, and Leru. This road section which, unlike others, does not respond to regular and routine maintenance, is concentrated on one geologic formation, the Eze Aku Shale which has been intruded by a dolerite sill. The emplacement of the dolerite sill had resulted in intense fracturing of the shales in the vicinity of the intrusions which includes portions of where the express road crosses. The road problem is most severe where the dolerite sill is traced right under and across the road.There is evidence from the study that the road problem is linked to the geological/hydrogeological conditions of the area. For example, the problematic section of the road is built on a considerably jointed, fractured and weathered shale formation as a subgrade. The subgrade ultimately has low bearing capacity. The road is almost at the foot of an escarpment where there is a concentration of natural groundwater discharge. Most of the discharge zones including natural water courses are now almost blocked resulting in increased groundwater storage and rise in water table under the highway pavement. This leads to fast deterioration of the base course materials.The dolerite sill, where it crosses the road, is less than 2 m below the grade level. It impedes vertical infiltration as well as lateral groundwater flow. Thus its position with respect to the highway grade elevation leads to an almost perpetual wetting of the base and sub-base materials.
Journal of African Earth Sciences 01/1988; 7(1-7):257-264. DOI:10.1016/0899-5362(88)90072-3