Geotechnical Engineering Division

The division undertakes Sponsored research and Consultancy assignments in the area related to geotechnical investigations for highways; land slide investigations & hazard mitigation; ground improvement for soft and compressible soils; and characterization and utilization of various kinds of waste and marginal materials in road construction. The division has successfully completed a large number of difficult and challenging projects being sponsored by agencies like Central and State PWD’s, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH), National Highway Authority (NHAI), Border Roads Organizations (BRO), Department of Science and Technology, Central Public Works Department (CPWD), National Rural Infrastructure Agency (NRIDA) and several Public and Private sector organizations. The division also works on in-house R&D projects for a continuous development in the new areas of research. It has also contributed significantly in formulating several National codes of practices and guidelines in the area of geotechnical engineering being published by organizations such as Bureau of Indian Standards, Indian Roads Congress etc. The division is well equipped with conventional as well as advanced testing equipment's, instruments and software to undertake various kinds of laboratory and field studies in the area of geotechnical engineering related to highway investigations and research. It also offers training to highway professional in the above areas of specialization.

Areas of R & D and Consultancy Activities

Geotechnical Investigations for Highway Design and Construction

  • Sub-soil investigations for highways including minor and major bridges.
  • Computer Aided Design/Stability Analysis of High Embankments on Normal/Soft/Expansive Soils
  • Failure Investigations of High Embankments including MES walls and design for remedial measures.
  • Design and construction of road embankments in flood and cyclone prone areas.
  • Instrumentation to Monitor Settlements, Pore Water Pressure, lateral deformations and in-situ Stresses.

Ground improvement techniques

  • Ground Improvement by Sand/band Drains, Stone Columns, Lime piles, Lime Slurry Injection etc., dynamic compacts, compaction/  ………
  • Mechanical and chemical soil stabilization
  • Geo-synthetics in Roads and Embankments
  • Coir and Jute Fabrics in Construction of Roads
  • Design, Construction Supervision & remedial measures of Reinforced Earth Structures

Utilization of Waste and Marginal Materials for Road and Embankment construction

  • Coal Ashes
  • Iron & Steel Slags
  • Copper slag
  • Super fine copper slag
  • Zinc slag
  • Phosphogypsum
  • Jarosite & Jarofix
  • Municipal wastes
  • Kimberlite tailings
  • Rice Husk Ash
  • Mining wastes
  • Red Mud
  • Construction and demolition waste

Landslide Investigations

  • Hazard Zonation mapping and Management, Mitigation Measures, Instrumentation etc.
  • Deep Trench and horizontal Drain Technique for Stabilization of landslides
  • Design of protective measures viz. Retaining walls, Gabion, Reinforced earth walls & rockfall barriers and netting.
  • Soil Nailing Techniques for Stabilizing Steep Soil Slopes
  • Erosion Control of Natural Slopes by Vegetative Turfing, using synthetic geotextiles and natural fibres like Jute and coir fabrics.

Infrastructural facilities

1. Laboratory investigations

  • Automatic sieve shaker
  • Casagrande Test Apparatus and Cone Penetrometer
  • Proctor Compaction Apparatus (Standard/Modified)
  • Direct Shear Test Assembly (Small/ Big shear box Apparatus)
  • Triaxial Shear Test Apparatus
  • Consolidation Test Apparatus
  • Permeability test
  • CBR Test Apparatus
  • Relative density test equipment
  • Flexural Strength Test
  • Vane Shear Test
  • Repeated Load Triaxial test
  • Triaxial Testing Machine
  • Universal Geotextile Testing Machine
  • Total Station (Electronic Theodolite)
  • Geosynthetic Pullout Apparatus
  • Physical Model testing facility for static loading
  • Physical model testing facility for cyclic loading
  • Geo-engineering Material Archive Gallery 
  • Global Positioning System
  • Rock Cutting and Grinding Machine
  • Rock testing
  • Muffle furnace

2. Field investigations

  • Drilling Rig Equipment 
  • Field Vane Shear Test 
  • Static Cone Penetrometer
  • Plate load tests
  • Dynamic Cone Penetrometer Test
  • Electrical resistivity meter
  • Settlement gauges, Piezometers and inclinometers

Training programme

  • Geotechnical and Landslide Investigations for Highway Projects
  • Planning, Design, Construction & Maintenance of Rural Roads (PMGSY)
  • Beside the regular training program, division also conducts the customized training programs.

Software Tools

  • Software packages for geotechnical applications like sub soil investigations, High embankment design, Ground improvement design, Settlement analysis, Reinforced earth wall design, Soil nailing and designs for bearing capacity computations. Slope stability analysis program, Geographical Information System (GIS) softwares.

Significant achievements

  • Detailed Geological, Geotechnical investigation, Instrumentation and monitoring of over 250 landslides in different parts of the country and suggested suitable remedial measures.
  • Development of landslide mitigation techniques and hazard management.
  • Design details and method statement provided for several projects for construction of high embankments & Reinforced earth retaining walls with ground improvement techniques using band drains, stone columns and geosynthetics etc.
  • Successfully stabilised steep hilly slopes using Soil nailing and horizontal drains technique
  • Pioneered the technique of stabilising unstable vertical cut slopes with soil nailing and construction of underpass in highly unstable soil conditions.
  • Provided techniques and guidelines for road and embankment construction in cyclone and flood prone areas.
  • Developed specifications for use of large number of waste and marginal materials available in India for road constructions and formulated construction guidelines.
  • Made pioneering effort in promotion of natural and synthetic geotextiles (a new construction material) in civil engineering projects by carrying out extensive R&D efforts
  • Prepared GIS based subsurface map of Delhi and microzonation of same for seismic hazard
  • Contributed significantly in bringing out National Code of Practices and Guidelines
  • Underpass construction using box jacking with slil nailing under live rail/road traffic
  • Remediation of distressed reinforced soil walls for flyover approach embankments
  • Prepared the landslide hazard zonation maps of Munnar area, Kerala of different years to study the changing trends of landslide hazard zonation

Contribution to Codes/Standards/Manual/Guidelines/Handbook

  • State-of-the-Art-Report on Ground Improvement Vol I &II- Published by Indian Roads Congress(IRC), India
  • State-of-the-Art-Report on Landslide Correction Techniques- Published by Indian Roads Congress, India
  • State-of-the-Art-Report on Geotextiles - Published by Indian Roads Congress, India
  • Manual on Rural Road Development in India, Vol I &II- Published by Planning Commission, India
  • Guidelines for Use of Flyash in Roads and Embankments, IRC-58 - Published by Indian Roads Congress, India
  • Guidelines for Use of Geotextiles in Roads Pavement and Associated Works, IRC-59- Published by Indian Roads Congress, India
  • State -of – the –Art Report on Soil Stabilisation - Published by Indian Roads Congress, India
  • State –of- Art Report on Bound and Unbound Granular Bases and Subbases- Published by Indian Roads Congress, India
  • Hill Road Manual Published by IRC
  • Guidelines on Drainage Aspect of Roads Published by IRC
  • Guidelines for Soil and Granular Material stabilisation using Cement, Lime and Flyash, IRC:SP;89-2010, Published by IRC
  • Recommended Practice for Construction of Earth Embankment and Subgrade for Road Works, IRC:36-2010, Published by IRC
  • Recommended Practice for Treatment of Embankment and Hill Slopes for Erosion Control, IRC-56-2011, Published by IRC
  • Draft Guidelines for Construction of Roads and Embankments in Cyclone Prone Area- National Disaster Management Authority
  • State-of-art report on Use of Jute Geotextiles for Construction of Roads and Erosion Control, Published by Indian Roads Congress, India
  • Guidelines for Review of Construction of National Highways under NHDP-Published by Indian Audit and Accounts Department


  • Best paper award(2012) on ‘Cement and fiber stabilization of Indian fly ashes’, Kaniraj, S.R., Gayatri,P., and Havanagi, V.G., Proceedings of        Conference ‘Engineering towards change-Empowering Green Solutions, Kuching Sarawak, Malaysia.

  •  Commendation Certificate (2013) received from Indian Road Congress (IRC), Ministry of Road  transport and Highways (MORTH) (2013-14) for    publication of paper in Journal of Highway Research Board entitled          "Characterization of Jarofix waste material for the construction of road"  by Sinha A.K, Havanagi V.G., Arora,V.K., Ranjan A., and Mathur.S .

  • SKOCH (2017)* Order of Merit Technologies for growth . ’Utilisationof Jarofix for Road construction’’ New Delhi.

  • CIDC Vishwakarma  (2018)* Achievement award for best construction project ’Utilisation of Jarofix for Road construction’’. New Delhi

  • SKOCH order of Merit’’(2018)* award for the project titled ‘’ Copper slag Solid Waste material for Road construction “ , New Delhi.

  • Vasant G Havanagi- IRC medal (2018)*. Awarded a medal and citation for the best research paper titled “Municipal Solid Waste in Road embankment Construction – A case study”. Nagpur.

  • Vasant G Havanagi- CIDC Vishwakarma  (2019)**. Received a Trophy and Scroll of commendation from the Board of Governors of Construction Industry Development Council (CIDC) for outstanding contribution to Research and Development under the Category ‘Scientist’. New Delhi.