Evaluating the Methodology and Performance of Jetting and Flooding Granular Backfill Materials

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June 2011
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December 2012
 Project Brief Final Report

Primary Investigators

Dante Fratta
University of Wisconsin-Madison
1415 Engineering Drive, 2208 EH
Madison, WI 53706


The use of backfill jetting or flooding could provide an alternative that may be faster and more economical than the traditional method of placing and compacting coarse-grained materials (e.g., granular materials) by mechanical means. That is, the use of backfill jetting or flooding could save both contractors, departments of transportation, and taxpayers’ time and money in the construction of structural fill behind bridge abutments, next to utility trenching operations, and in local repairs of roads and embankments. However, before the use of backfill jetting or flooding is adopted; methodologies, materials and expected performance must be properly understood and specified. The assessment of the techniques, the specification of the required materials, and the laboratory and in situ evaluation of the performance are the problems that this proposal will address.


The research objectives of this proposal are:

  • (Phase I) To review both engineering and academic literature and evaluate best practices in jetting and flooding techniques for the construction of structural backfills.
  • (Phase I) To compile commonly used coarse-grained materials (e.g., granular materials) properties for the construction of backfills jetting and flooding.
  • (Phase I) To compile and assess the performance of constructed backfills using jetting or flooding.
  • (Phases II-III) To evaluate in the laboratory and in the field most promising jetting and flooding techniques using fill materials commonly found in the Wisconsin construction market and allowed in the WisDOT Standard Specifications.
  • (Phases II-III) To measure the quality and the engineering performance of structural backfills constructed using jetting and flooding techniques.
  • (Phase IV) To develop proposed specifications for the implementation of jetting and flooding compaction techniques for Wisconsin.


  1. Literature review and development of lab and field testing work plans
  2. Implementation of the work plan in the lab
  3. Implementation of the work plan in a field study of the jetting and the compaction flooding methods
  4. Development of proposed specifications for WisDOT compaction jetting and flooding methods

Project Information

  • Duration: 36 months
  • Dates: October 21, 2010 – October 20, 2013
  • Budget: $81,400 (with $74,000 in matching funds)
  • Student Involvement: One graduate student
  • Modal Orientation: Highway
  • Project ID: CFIRE 05-08
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