Simplified reliability-based geotechnical investigation and design of transmission lines

Zack Heim, Peter Kandaris, Sandra Houston

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


By virtue of their intended purpose, electrical transmission projects traverse large distances across widely varying geologic and geotechnical settings. Thus, the methods by which the geotechnical investigation and design of such projects should be conducted have been a long-standing question by practitioners. Transmission foundation engineers tasked with the investigation and design of projects measured in miles must balance cost effective field investigation with the production of sufficient data for foundation designs that are economical and reliable. A study of the Browning-Pinal Central (BPC) 500/230kV transmission line near Phoenix, AZ, provides insight into a practical approach toward the geotechnical investigation and design of large transmission projects. Paramount to the successful geotechnical investigation of BPC was the careful selection of field investigation locations for soil sampling and in-situ testing based primarily on geologic strata categorization. The subsequent data recovered was used to develop design soil parameters based on simplified reliability concepts. Investigation and statistically based parameter selection concepts utilized on the BPC resulted in a significant foundation cost savings over traditional design practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGeo-Frontiers 2011
Subtitle of host publicationAdvances in Geotechnical Engineering - Proceedings of the Geo-Frontiers 2011 Conference
Number of pages10
Edition211 GSP
StatePublished - 2011
EventGeo-Frontiers 2011: Advances in Geotechnical Engineering - Dallas, TX, United States
Duration: Mar 13 2011Mar 16 2011

Publication series

NameGeotechnical Special Publication
Number211 GSP
ISSN (Print)0895-0563


OtherGeo-Frontiers 2011: Advances in Geotechnical Engineering
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityDallas, TX


  • Design
  • Electric transmission lines
  • Geotechnical engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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