Gravity retaining walls create space needed to make Hamilton County intersection safer

Aug. 2, 2016

The intersection of Rybolt and Wesselman Roads in Green Township, Ohio, was notorious for its significant visibility problems and heavy traffic. With construction starting in 2014 on a new subdivision nearby, Hamilton County officials initiated plans to widen the intersection to allow for the addition of new, dedicated turn lanes.

According to Eric Beck, P.E., Construction Engineer for the Hamilton County Engineer's Office, "the profile elevation of the roadway changes by as much as 160 ft along its course. This, coupled with steep hillside slopes projecting upward from the roadway into private yards and into subdivisions, necessitated the use of retaining walls in order to be able to fit the widenings in."

Plans for the project required the proposed retaining walls be set back into the private property surrounding the construction area. To reduce the amount of encroachment caused by the walls, the county specified a precast modular block retaining wall system that would not require external reinforcement.

"Redi-Rock was chosen as the best engineered solution to provide a good-looking wall within the confined work areas provided. The product also matched other walls already in place on other parts of the roadway in previous projects," Beck said.

Redi-Rock is a large block retaining wall system that uses one-ton concrete blocks and the power of gravity to create tall retaining walls without the need for geogrid reinforcement. The blocks stack together like giant LEGO blocks so that they install within a small footprint, requiring minimal excavation.

Local Redi-Rock manufacturer, Redi-Rock Structures of OKI, supplied over 2,000 gravity retaining wall blocks for the project. Cobblestone texture blocks were chosen to coordinate with another Redi-Rock wall less than a mile down the road that was built in 2007.

Clint Hines, P.E., of JC Hines & Associates LLC prepared final construction drawings to accommodate the project’s poor soil conditions, a crest slope on the top of the walls, and the need to minimize the amount of right of way required.

"This was a road widening, so taking as little real estate from the adjoining homeowners and businesses was a primary concern of the county," Hines said.

Hines utilized the Redi-Rock gravity retaining wall system to accomplish the wall heights needed without having to excavate for reinforcement. He also designed the walls with intermittent 16.63-in. setbacks to "maximize the allowable design height while reducing the imposing verticality of the taller retaining walls."

The final project included eight Redi-Rock gravity retaining walls, with a combined face area of 11,252 sq ft.

"The overall project after completion has brought about a number of positive responses. The addition of turn lanes, traffic signals, improved drainage and new pavement have made travelling on this portion of roadway both more comfortable and safer. The retaining walls, while providing the necessary engineering qualities, also provide an attractive visual appearance to the area," said Beck.

Click here to learn more about how Redi-Rock can help on roadway projects.

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