Stabilizing Roadside Channels with Sustainable Solutions

March 5, 2021

Brookshire-Katy Drainage District (BKDD) is responsible for maintaining the drainage channel that runs along Stalknecht Road in Waller County Texas.  Extreme storm water flows caused by Hurricane Harvey caused the roadside drainage ditch to experience erosion and slope instability, reducing the channel's capacity.

The severe erosion and reduction in channel capacity prompted BKDD to pursue permanent erosion protection for the channel’s side slopes. An early phase in the design process used rock filled gabion baskets to armor the channel, however the project engineers were looking for a more economical and environmentally friendly solution. Using gabion baskets requires the removal and transportation of the excavated material from the site, but SCOURLOK® reuses on-site soil for fill within and behind the units.

Stakeholders wanted a more cost-effective solution for the remaining phases of the project, so SCOURLOK® from Propex GeoSolutions was selected.  SCOURLOK is a versatile stabilization system that features rigid and interlocking cells armored with erosion protection from a highly UV stabilized High Performance Turf Reinforcement Mat (HPTRM).  The system is engineered to provide a vegetated gravity wall system that resists sliding and overturning for up to 75 years.   

These cells are filled with soil and other materials, and can easily be connected and contoured to accommodate projects of any size. On-site soil can be used to fill the units, eliminating the cost of importing fill material to a job site. SCOURLOK units are shipped pre-assembled and utilize a compact design to streamline installation and maximize shipping efficiency.   

The design included an eight-foot wall comprised of two tiers of SCOURLOK that spans 500 feet along the eastern side of the channel.  The design also included 300 square yards of ARMORMAX® along the top of the channel. ARMORMAX is a solution for erosion control and surficial slope stabilization that provides vegetated reinforcement, improves the factor of safety, and significantly reduces the probability of failure. The system is composed of Engineered Earth Anchors that are designed and tested for compatibility and performance with our High Performance Turf Reinforcement Mats (HPTRM) to increase slope stability for up to 75 years.

The SCOURLOK system was designed to provide resilient protection against extreme hydraulic stresses while promoting vegetation.  Its ability to vegetate is an additional advantage over traditional gabions and other hard armoring solutions.  Vegetation helps remove harmful pollutants and nutrients that get into storm water flows.

Another environmental benefit of the SCOURLOK system is its small carbon footprint.  One square meter of its HPTRM has a cradle-to-grave carbon footprint of 2.7 kgCO2e. Comparatively, the carbon footprint of concrete and rock-based alternatives are up to 30 times higher.

Propex believes in a comprehensive approach to increasing the performance life of roadways.  In addition to building a strong foundation for transportation infrastructure, it is essential to protect this investment with a solution that stabilizes adjacent slopes and landscapes.  Using an Engineered Earth Armoring Solution offers an environmentally-friendly solution to mitigate road closures due to unstable slopes and erosion.

To learn more about SCOURLOK and our other solutions for slope stabilization ad erosion control, contact Propex at [email protected].

Editor's Note: Scranton Gillette Communications and the SGC Infrastructure Group are not liable for the accuracy, efficacy and validity of the claims made in this piece. The views expressed in this content do not reflect the position of the Roads & Bridges' Editorial Team.

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