From Defiance County, Ohio, to Yamhill County, Oregon, building bridges using geosynthetic-reinforced soil is gaining popularity for its effectiveness, efficiency, and time-saving simplicity.
This methodology was first featured in Geosynthetics in August 2006, with a follow-up in April 2008. Defiance County Engineer Warren Schlatter and his crews, with initial assistance from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), have now constructed 16 such bridges in the rural northwestern Ohio county.
Now, Bill Gille and his Yamhill County (Ore.) crews are following in a similar, successful style. Late last year, the small Laughlin Road Bridge was reconstructed in much the same manner as those in Ohio, by building up the bridge abutments using alternate layers of geotextiles and compacted fill.
County Engineer Gille described the process as similar to a layer cake, building layer upon layer until you get to the top. “Then you set your bridge on it,” he said. Yamhill County is located in northwestern Oregon.
Building bridges in this fashion allows construction in an adaptable, efficient manner, without pouring tons of concrete. It’s also quick. Schlatter described how his crew built one bridge abutment in Defiance County in three days. A cast-in-place structure could require weeks.