C+S April 2022 Vol. 8 Issue 4 (web)

Presto Geosystems | www.prestogeo.com


Building Climate-Resilient Infrastructure Using Geosynthetics

When extreme weather events occur, communities are often left to grapple with the devastating effects. An increase in extreme weather patterns, coupled with aging or inadequate infrastructure, amplifies the often dangerous and costly damage that ensues—especially for vulnerable communities living in low-lying areas. According to a recent study, the United States could see a 26.4% increase in flood risk by 2050, which could cause significant damage to existing infrastructure. For this reason, it is vital to build resilience into infrastructure projects to mitigate climate risk and ensure the long-term reliability of critical infrastructure. Incorporating geosynthetics into infrastructure can improve the ability of communities to withstand and recover from extreme weather events. For example, in hurricane-prone parts of the country, designing robust access roads along power transmission lines allows repair crews to safely and quickly restore power to communities that might otherwise be without electricity for days or even weeks. Geosynthetic products, such as geocells, can be used to construct reli- able access roads along transmission infrastructure, which often traverse very remote areas with difficult terrain and very soft ground conditions. Through an interconnected honeycomb-like network, geocells confine and stabilize soils that would otherwise be unstable under loading. When used in load support, slope stabilization, channel protection, and retaining wall applications, geocells are a powerful weapon against the long-term effects of climate change. This article discusses several examples where GE- OWEB® geocells were successfully used to help communities adapt to, and recover from, extreme weather events. GEOWEB Porous Pavements Used for Rebuilding Roads, Replacing Transmission Lines Damaged During Hur- ricane Michael in Florida’s Panhandle Hurricane Michael caused extensive damage to Florida’s power grid network, leveling more than 100 transmission towers in a 34-mile right-of-way from Port St. Joe to Callaway. This right-of-way crosses swampy, remote, and hard-to- reach areas, making rebuilding the grid even more challenging. This extremely wet, muddy ground prevented repair vehicles from accessing the area. Helicopters were employed to transport the new steel towers installed on-site. Accessing the lines for maintenance would require a stronger roadway to support heavy vehicles in the wettest areas. The GEOWEB Load Support System was used to make the roads operational and improve performance in saturated conditions. The GEOWEB systemwas placed over an enhanced geotextile and filled with crushed aggregate to create access roads across critical wetlands and stabilize pole pads. The access roads and pads are permanent. GEOWEB Geocells Repair Storm-Ravaged Trail & Maintenance Road In the spring of 2018, several storms violently swept through areas along southern Maine’s coastline, devastating the beaches and trails of Fort Foster—a town-owned park in Maine. Known as “nor’easters,” these destructive storms form along the east coast, bringing strong winds, rain, and flooding to the New England states. As the storms rolled past, the damage was visible to Fort Foster and Kittery Point’s 2.1-mile-long shoreline walking trail and maintenance road, as well as on the slopes leading down to the beach. The park’s goal was to repair the damage and protect the slopes, maintenance road, and recreational trail from future storm damage. The GEOWEB® Soil Stabilization System was chosen to restore and protect two sections of the park’s shorelines and trails. By using the GEOWEB System, the park was able to armor the maintenance road, recreational trail, and slopes from future storm events. Since being installed in 2018, the GEOWEB Load Support and Shoreline Protection Systems con- tinue to perform as designed, allowing the community to once again enjoy the trail system and local beaches.


april 2022 csengineermag.com

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