During earthwork construction, the assessment of the quality of the excavated soil to determine its suitability for use as fill requires a rapid, reproducible test, the results of which correlate well with engineering properties. The newly-developed moisture condition test fulfils these requirements.

In the relatively shallow embankments in road construction, the operating ability of earthwork construction plant is frequently used as the criterion of suitability of fill material. Relations have been established, therefore, between factors affecting the productivity of earthmoving plant and the moisture condition value. Furthermore, predictions made at the design stage of a scheme of the potential quantities of available material suitable for use in embankments require a knowledge of the possible effects of weather conditions during the construction period on the condition of the soil. Recent research has set out to determine these effects and their associated impact on the planning of the earthmoving operations.

An earthwork material that can cause particular difficulties during embankment construction is chalk. A classification for chalk has been developed in terms of its saturation moisture content and a chalk crushing value. This indicates, for each class of chalk, the preferred method of working in order to minimize the difficulties.

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