C+S August 2023 Vol. 9 Issue 8 (web)

Transforming Transportation Infrastructure: Improving Resilience by Protecting Road and Bridge Embankments with GEOWEB ® Geocells

Improving Bridge Resilience with the GEOWEB Geocells at the I-90 Mississippi River Bridge Bridge stability relies heavily on the long-term integrity of its abutments. Any vulnerability or weakness in these components can lead to structural failure with a potentially disastrous outcome. Therefore, prioritizing the design and construction of resilient abutments is crucial to ensure the stability and longevity of bridges. In 2013, the I-90 Mississippi River Bridge, or the Dresbach Bridge, underwent a significant reconstruction project led by SRF Consultants. The aim was to replace the old bridge on the Wisconsin/Minnesota border and improve the interchange between Highway 61/14 and I-90 to enhance traffic safety and provide better access for motorists. The GEOWEB System played a crucial role in two different applications. The GEOWEB sections (4-inch-depth, mid-sized cell) were utilized on slopes directly beneath the bridges and around structural supports, ranging from 2H:1V to 1.5H:1V, with heights up to 45 feet. These sections, filled with aggregate, were custom-produced in a tan color selected to blend in with the local aggregate color, improving visual

In a rapidly changing world , maintaining and improving our transportation infrastructure's resilience and sustainability has become a critical concern for civil engineers. Climate change and increasing frequency of natural disasters present an ongoing challenge to the durability of our infrastructure. In the context of road and bridge embankments, protecting these structures can be of paramount significance to the safety and welfare of the public. These structures are often subjected to fluctuating environmental conditions, heavy traffic loads, and must be able to withstand major storm events to protect embankment materials from soil washouts and the long term damaging effects of erosion. So how can civil engineers meet these growing demands without compromising sustainability or longevity? Increasingly, engineers are turning to geosynthetic solutions, such as the GEOWEB® Soil Stabilization System—a low- maintenance and eco-friendly solution for long-term protection of road and bridge embankments. In many cases, the GEOWEB Geocells offer a flexible, durable, and environmentally responsible alternative to traditional construction materials that can accommodate a wide range of infill materials, including soil, aggregate, or concrete, to establish hard or soft armor, as necessary, for protection as well as aesthetics. As we explore the capabilities of the GEOWEB Geocells, we will find that this solution not only addresses some of today's most pressing infrastructure challenges but also paves the way toward a more resilient and sustainable future.




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