Bell County, Kentucky
Slope Failure

The Project

The project is a new middle school and associated asphaltic concrete paving. Site development included 400,000 cubic yards of excavation and filling, and a side hill access road.

The Site

The site is a previously undeveloped site in the Eastern Kentucky coal fields on top of a ridge with moderate to steep slopes to the valley floor with a history of slope instabilities resulting in colluvium to depths of over 20 feet. There are three faults that cross or underlie the site, and one of these faults truncates water bearing sandstones and coals creating a general seepage discharge area that creates the landslide risk.

The Problem

During construction, land slides developed in cut slopes made into the colluvium and embankments constructed over the natural slopes. The pavement experienced rutting, alligator cracking, and general failure during the first three years of service.

The Cause

The design team failed to obtain the requisite site specific geologic and geotechnical investigations and evaluations. The site development contractor failed to meet the minimum specifications for compaction of fills and when seepage areas were encountered in the work, they were virtually ignored. Once slides developed on the site, corrective procedures were tried without the benefit of knowing the cause of the slides or the subsurface conditions. The pavement design was not adequate for the traffic loads, and the pavement, as built, did not satisfy the design specifications.

The Resolution

The parties attempted to resolve this dispute through Mediation; however, no settlement was achieved. Litigation is between the plaintiff school board and the defendants, the project architect, the project civil engineer, the site development contractor, and the building general contractor, entered the trial stage when the case was settled after the beginning of testimony before the jury. The Defendants agreed to pay the Plaintiff School Board $500,000.00.

The Attorney Client

For the Owner:

Stumbo, Bowling, Barber
P.O. Box 859
Middlesboro, Kentucky
Mr. Mike Bowling
(606) 248-4668


For additional information concerning this case,
you may contact:

P. O. Box 130
Nicholasville , Kentucky 40340-0130


Copyright 2004 Richard Cheeks