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How geosynthetics help achieve CRISI objectives

Update | February 1, 2024 | By: Bryan Wedin, P.E.

The U.S. Department of Transportation, under the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) program, has allocated more than $1.4 billion to upgrade and safeguard rail infrastructure across 35 states and the District of Columbia.

This initiative, enriched by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), focuses on ensuring more resilient, efficient and safe rail infrastructure, mitigating the impacts of severe weather and climate change. It seeks to enhance community safety and expedite the transportation of goods and people through improved and robust rail services. The demand for these grants is significantly high, highlighting the pressing need for enhancements in rail infrastructure across the nation.

CRISI key takeaways:

  • Grant allocation: More than $1.4 billion has been allocated for 70 rail projects to enhance and protect rail infrastructure.
  • CRISI program and IIJA: The program, supercharged by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, focuses on improving rail infrastructure standards and resilience.
  • High demand: The overwhelming requests for grants underscore the pressing need for improvements and innovations in rail infrastructure.
  • Community impact: The projects funded are crucial for ensuring community safety and promoting efficient transportation of goods and people.

The role of geocells in rail infrastructure

In the quest for more resilient and efficient rail infrastructure, geocells have become increasingly significant. These three-dimensional, honeycomb-like structures made from 100% virgin HDPE are essential in improving ground stabilization, particularly in challenging environments. By distributing loads more evenly, geocells enhance the strength and durability of the rail bed, making them a crucial component in modern rail infrastructure design, especially in areas prone to soft subgrades or heavy traffic.

Diverse applications in rail infrastructure 

The application of geocells in rail infrastructure is diverse. From mainline tracks to high-stress points like bridge approaches, diamonds, and crossings, these technologies provide a sustainable solution to common problems such as differential settlement, track deformation, and uneven load distribution. By improving the longevity and reliability of rail infrastructure, geocells contribute significantly to the safety and efficiency of rail transport.

An example of geocell technology 

In the diverse world of geosynthetics, the GEOWEB® Soil Stabilization System stands out for its unique contributions, particularly in the realm of rail infrastructure. Renowned for its effectiveness in ballast reinforcement, the system exemplifies how geosynthetic products can meet specific challenges in rail construction and maintenance. While the selection of appropriate geosynthetic solutions depends on a range of factors – including project-specific requirements, environmental conditions, and desired performance outcomes – the GEOWEB system is distinguished by its proven track record in enhancing the resilience and stability of railroads. This system represents a significant advancement in geosynthetic technology, offering a distinct and effective solution for critical infrastructure needs. 

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