Design and Construction Guidelines for Geosynthetic- Reinforced Soil Bridge Abutments with a Flexible Facing

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Design and Construction Guidelines for Geosynthetic-
Reinforced Soil Bridge Abutments with a Flexible Facing


The use of geosynthetic-reinforced soil (GRS) systems as the foundation for or as

integral structural components of bridge abutments and piers is receiving increased
attention and interest. The soil mass of GRS systems is reinforced in layers with a polymeric
geosynthetic (e.g., geogrids or geotextiles), and the layered reinforcement is
attached to facing elements that constitute the outer wall. Because the facing elements
are commonly composed of articulated units that are not rigidly attached to each other,
the wall is deemed flexible. Various materials, including natural rock, concrete block,
gabion, or timber, may be used for the flexible facing. GRS structures are more forgiving
to differential foundation settlement thus minimizing the bump that commonly
develops between the roadway and bridge. GRS structures are more adaptable to lowquality
backfill, easier to construct, and more economical than their conventional counterparts.
GRS structures can be put into service quickly, can be built by maintenance
personnel, and are especially well suited to projects constructed in areas that are difficult
to access with heavy equipment. GRS structures are an economical alternative for
temporary structures, because of their easy demolition and the recyclable nature of their
components, and for emergency work, because of reduced lead time and lower equipment
requirements

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