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Canal construction finalized with geocell stability

Case Studies | February 1, 2010 | By:


The primary objective of this project was to protect the banks of a canal that was constructed in front, and throughout the grounds, of a new luxury hotel in Panama.

Bristol Buenaventura Resort, located approximately 85 miles west of Panama City on the Pacific Ocean coastline, opened in 2009. The manicured grounds include walking paths and gazebos strategically placed amid a winding, man-made canal.

The complete site preparation, all installations, and final finishing work were completed in about three weeks by local gardeners.

Potential problems

This new construction of a man-made, vegetated canal for an upscale beach resort required wall slope angles of 1:1 to 3:1, potentially unstable, and the construction schedule was fast-tracked including propagation of the vegetation.

The site plan called for a geotextile that was installed initially across the entire working area. Then the geocell layer was put in place. The geocell infill was local sand and sandy soil. Then sod was placed on the top of the geocell/soil layer.

Likely solutions

The key component for the contractor was the 4-in. perforated geocell material, filled with native sandy soil to stabilize the slopes.

First, a nonwoven geotextile was put in place, to serve as a separator and to impede erosion between the layers. Then the geocell layer was installed. After the geocells were in place, with the slopes stabilized, sod was then laid directly on top.

Installation of the 4,000m2 of geocells, and putting the sod in place, took an eight-man crew about five days.

Geosynthetics encourages your contributions of case histories, photos, and field tips. For submittal guidelines, contact Ron Bygness at 800 225 4324 or +1 651 225 6988; e-mail:

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