Efficient Alternative

01 May 2008

Construction of germany's first geosynthetic reinforced soil (GRS) bridge abutment has helped to cut construction costs and save time on site. The technique was successfully trialed during reconstruction of a bridge over the River Ilse, near Ilsenburg.

The original tender from the Wernigerode local authority was for a conventionally constructed piled abutment but contractor Matthäi proposed a GRS solution. The authority went ahead with Matthäi's alternative bid because it cut the cost of the works by -30% and reduced construction time by -25%.

Matthäi developed the design with consulting engineer IBH - Herold & Partner Ingenieure and involved building up the abutments using layers of fill compacted onto Fortrac, a geogrid supplied by Huesker. The abutment shelf was cast directly onto the GRS structure and the front face was built using gabion baskets filled with crushed stone to provided added protection.

The structure is the first of its kind in Germany and inclinometers have been installed in both abutments to check on long term stability. So far the results have been favorable.

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