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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Environmental Impact Analysis of Different Design Options for Highway Road Widening

Vasiliki Kokkalidou

Environmental Impact Analysis of Different Design Options for Highway Road Widening

During recent years, the impact of human activity has become evident through global warming, extinction of species, scarcity of resources, and ozone depletion. Issues of sustainability have been raised in the industry as a whole, including the construction industry. Although extensive research has been done in the building industry over the past 30 years, research focused on geotechnical infrastructure only in recent years. In the current study, an embodied energy and CO2 analysis has been carried out for the assessment of the environmental impact of different soil retention options for highway widening. A specific case study has been considered, i.e. the M1 Widening Project from Junction 25 to 28. Five retention structures for embankments and four retaining options for cuttings were considered in the present study. The effect of use of virgin and recycled steel was also assessed. A sensitivity analysis was carried out on the Embodied Energy Intensity Values. The results were then compared and contextualised under the purview of this study.


Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.