Supporting roads with massive live loads

March 6, 2015

How do you support roadways when you’re contending with massive live loads? Engineers designing a new roadway for a winery were faced with this challenge on a recent project. The roadway needed to be located at the top of a 19 ft high retaining wall, which allowed trucks to unload grapes directly into the top level of the facility. Find out how designers were able to support the roadway and handle the live loads by using a unique geosynthetic reinforced retaining wall system called Redi-Rock.

When the Four Feathers Winery near Kennewick, Wis., began construction on a new production facility, they had a unique design in mind. The topography of the site allowed the company to design a production system that utilized gravity to help improve the process of moving grapes through the facility.

The challenge was that the grapes needed to be unloaded from semi trucks into a conveyer system that started at the top of a 19 ft tall ledge. The winery needed to create a vertical wall that could support the weight of the roadway and trucks above, create space for all the necessary equipment, and also look good.

Rod Chumley owns Scout Lake Excavation and is also part-owner of the winery. Chumley has been building retaining walls for over 20 years, and recommended Redi-Rock as the best solution for the wall construction.

“I would not feel comfortable putting in a wall that high in any other block on the market than the Redi-Rock PC [Positive Connection] block,” Chumley said. “Where else can you find a wall that you can stack 19 ft. high vertical and then run semi-trucks across the top?”

The Redi-Rock PC System:

  • Utilizes a corrosion-free reinforcement system without special connection components
  • Offers superior seismic performance
  • Increases wall height with reduced geosynthetic reinforcement requirements
  • Incorporates a massive, ¾ ton, precast concrete block facing unit
  • Delivers an attractive, cost-effective, high-performance retaining wall structure

“We receive fruit 21-24 tons at a time. We’re using that elevation change that the wall has afforded us as a benefit,” explained Dave Copeland, Operations Manager at Zirkle. In addition to the semi trucks, the wall was also engineered to withstand the load of a 7.5 ton crane.

The PC wall was an excellent fit for this project, agreed John McKervey, P.E., principal of JM Engineering. “The PC System allows for an attractive retaining wall capable of supporting virtually any loading situation and the wall system is relatively easy to design.”

The efficient connection the PC System allows was a major benefit to this project. “The way that the geogrid connects through the block creates a solid connection because the grid goes all the way through the block rather than just being connected on one small portion of the block,” McKervey said. “It makes a strong connection between the block back into the soil behind it and there’s really no chance of a connection failure with this system.”

“I felt really confident in the structural integrity of the walls, and it was cheaper than pouring a wall there by over about a third,” Chumley explained.

How can Redi-Rock help make your project more efficient? Visit today to find out.

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