Aerial view of winding road next to a lake in Montana.

Measurement While Drilling (MWD) is an emerging new technology that has been implemented on one of Montana Department of Transportation’s (MDT’s) geotechnical drilling rigs. Since the summer of 2020, MDT has used MWD technology to accurately identify and characterize subsurface soil and rock layering, subsurface anomalies, and void features for a number of geotechnical exploration projects around the state. The challenge MDT has had with this new technology is finding the time to develop analytical processes to organize and interpret the large quantity of data that is collected. The outcome of this research is the organization and interpretation of MDT’s collected geotechnical drilling data, the evaluation of existing correlations between MWD data and subsurface strength and index properties, and the creation of newly developed correlations. The correlation equations that are developed can then be readily used to optimize the number of required subsurface exploration locations, reduce sampling intervals, improve project understanding, and potentially reduce the number of change orders on future projects.

Project Overview

For more information, contact Vaneza Callejas, 802-546-0217.