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Models and algorithms to improve earthwork operations in road design using mixed integer linear programming


  • Hare, Warren L.
  • Koch, Valentin R.
  • Lucet, Yves


In road construction, earthwork operations account for about 25% of the construction costs. Existing linear programming models for earthwork 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. As such, current models may result in inaccurate estimates of optimal earthwork costs, leading to poor choices in road design. In this research, we extend the classical linear program model of earthwork operations to a mixed integer linear program model that accounts for blocks. We examine the economic impact of incorporating blocks via mixed integer linear programming, and find significant savings for most road designs in our test-set. However, the resulting model is considerably harder to solve than the original linear program. Based on structural observations, we introduce a set of algorithms that theoretically reduce the solving time of the model. We confirm this reduction in solve time with numerical experiments.

Suggested Citation

  • Hare, Warren L. & Koch, Valentin R. & Lucet, Yves, 2011. "Models and algorithms to improve earthwork operations in road design using mixed integer linear programming," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 215(2), pages 470-480, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ejores:v:215:y:2011:i:2:p:470-480

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kim, Eungcheol & Jha, Manoj K. & Son, Bongsoo, 2005. "Improving the computational efficiency of highway alignment optimization models through a stepwise genetic algorithms approach," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 339-360, May.
    2. Henderson, Darrall & Vaughan, Diane E. & Jacobson, Sheldon H. & Wakefield, Ron R. & Sewell, Edward C., 2003. "Solving the shortest route cut and fill problem using simulated annealing," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 145(1), pages 72-84, February.
    3. Moreb, Ahmad A., 1996. "Linear programming model for finding optimal roadway grades that minimize earthwork cost," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 148-154, August.
    4. Francisco Ag├╝era & Fernando Aguilar & Manuel Aguilar & Fernando Carvajal, 2007. "Minimising the Earthwork Cost in the Construction of Irrigation Offstream Reservoirs," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 21(2), pages 375-397, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Burdett, R.L. & Kozan, E., 2014. "An integrated approach for earthwork allocation, sequencing and routing," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 238(3), pages 741-759.
    2. Hare, Warren & Lucet, Yves & Rahman, Faisal, 2015. "A mixed-integer linear programming model to optimize the vertical alignment considering blocks and side-slopes in road construction," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 241(3), pages 631-641.
    3. repec:pal:jorsoc:v:68:y:2017:i:9:d:10.1057_s41274-016-0140-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Pushak, Yasha & Hare, Warren & Lucet, Yves, 2016. "Multiple-path selection for new highway alignments using discrete algorithms," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 248(2), pages 415-427.


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