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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Optimizing earthwork block removal in road construction Koch, Valentin Raphael


In road construction, earthwork operations account for about 25% of the construction costs. Existing linear programming models for earthwork logistics optimization are designed to minimize the hauling costs and to balance the earth across the construction site. However, these models do not consider the removal of physical blocks that may influence the earthwork process. In this thesis, we extend the linear programming model of Mayer and Stark (1981) with the addition of a block removal schedule. The resulting model is a mixed-integer linear program. We analyze the model size and the schedule search space in order to make conclusion about the use of the model. Based on structural observations, we introduce a set of algorithms that significantly reduce the solving time of the model. Finally, we conduct numerical experiments to compare our solutions with the solutions of a traditional earthwork process that makes use of linear programming. From our numerical results, we conclude that an optimal removal schedule produces solutions that are 4.1% cheaper on average than a traditional method, with savings that can go as high as 19%. We conclude our discussion with possible extensions to the model, that can help an engineer to design roads that are more economical and ecological with respect to the earthwork operations.

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