Sustainable Slope Stabilization with Geocells

Panaweb, Geo Products, Envirogrid

Erosion, precipitation, and steep slopes threatened Punta Raton Beach.

For many years, the hilly Pacific coastline of Panama has witnessed erosion-causing storms. This has presented a number of problems to the residents in the Punta Raton Beach area. With limited space allowed for development but with high demand to make it possible, contractors have been required to cut into the bordering slopes at a 70° angle.

PROBLEM & OBJECTIVE

Heavy rains and wind in the coastal area as well as strong water flows coming down from the mountains during these storms have led to significant material loss on the edges of these properties. The continental sand is washing out, leaving heavily rutted and crumbling bluffs that must be protected.

The decision was made to protect the existing slopes with some type of erosion control system, reconstruct the face of the slopes, and restore vegetated cover to the area.

DESIGN SOLUTIONS

Envirogrid Geocells, Slope Stabilization

Envirogrid geocells were installed on the slopes and vegetated.

After analyzing many possible solutions from the geosynthetics market, Panaweb found that the system that would best solve the area’s particular problems in an efficient, fast, and cost-effective way while still being environmentally friendly was the EnviroGrid cellular confinement system.

CONSTRUCTION OVERVIEW

Construction began on the slopes, which were considered in critical condition at the time of the project. The soil in the area was unstable, loose, and sandy. They proceeded to install the EnviroGrid material on the slopes, using a dead man anchor at the top connected to polyethylene tendons to support the material and prevent sliding. The cells were then filled with sandy soil. At times, this process was impossible with heavy machinery and the cells had to be filled by hand.

After compacted, the slopes were hydroseeded with the root medium Brachiaria (by Hydrogreen of Panama) and several days were given to allow the vegetation to grow.

Slope stabilization with geocells

The green facing established quickly. In 2013, two years after installation, the slopes continued to thrive.

RESULTS

After 8 days of watering, vegetation began to take root and by the third week abundant vegetation had grown on the slopes. The problem was solved.

The EnviroGrid cellular confinement system impeded further erosion and confined the soils on the slope to allow grass and other vegetation to grow. The EnviroGrid system was able to control erosion while making the Punta Raton Beach Properties more attractive to international investors.

PC Lauinger (pc@geoproducts.org)works for GeoProducts. For more information on the EnviroGrid cellular confinementsystem, visit the GeoProducts website www.geoproducts.org or call +1 281 820 5493. For inquiries in Panama, please contact Jonathan or Larisa Abramovich at Panaweb (panawebpanaweb@yahoo.com).

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