Yearly Archives: 2019

FHWA Repeals its Proprietary Product Rule, Allows Geosystems’ Products to be Specified

By: William G. Handlos, P.E. Design engineers received good news on September 23, 2019, when the Federal Highway Administration repealed 23 CFR 635.411(a)-(e). Colloquially known as the “Proprietary Product Rule”, the long-standing provision made it difficult to use patented or proprietary products or technologies in federally funded projects, unless they first received a seldom-granted Public Interest Finding or classified the project as experimental. Specialty engineered and innovative systems, such as the GEOWEB® soil stabilization (geocells) lineup of products have at times been difficult to specify because there is simply nothing quite like it in the marketplace. While other geocell manufacturers exist, the Geosystems products have patented innovations making it unique in the products’ ability to perform far better than other “or equal” systems. Now, engineers will no longer be constrained to the lowest common denominator offerings from the marketplace and instead can use technically advanced materials that reduce costs, speed construction and save money. According to Federal Highway Administrator Nicole R. Nason, “This final rule promotes innovation by empowering states to choose which state-of-the-art materials, tools, and products best meet their needs for the construction and upkeep of America’s transportation infrastructure.”       GEOWEB® — Most Complete Multicomponent Geocellular… Read more »

The Integration of Pervious & Impervious Pavements to Address Green Infrastructure Needs

Written by: Samantha Justice, P.E. Green infrastructure incentive programs have become commonplace for new construction and redevelopment regulations. Five of the most common incentives include: Development incentives such as expedited permitting, decreased fees, zoning upgrades, and stormwater requirement reductions. Grants. Rebates and installation financing. Awards and recognition programs. Stormwater fee discounts. A subset of green infrastructure, stormwater management usually includes the consideration of pervious/porous pavements. Traditional asphalt and concrete parking lot surfaces create significant stormwater runoff, and many municipalities do not allow them in expansion or new build situations. When the entire parking area is constructed using a porous pavement system, stormwater concerns are greatly reduced. Depending on the type chosen, pavements that return rainwater to the aquifer nearly eliminate stormwater runoff and reduce sheet flow and point load erosion problems at the pavement edges. They also reduce the need for additional stormwater infrastructure to convey the water away from the area. Integrating porous pavement systems with asphalt and concrete surfaces can reduce such failures and reduce or eliminate the need for stormwater conveyance channels, pipes, and swales. As a result, downstream stormwater pipe systems see less silt and water, which requires less maintenance and less capital expenditure for upsizing stormwater pipes…. Read more »

Are you using the right construction access mat for the job?

By: William G. Handlos, P.E. Research shows that GEOTERRA® and GEOTERRA® GTO structural mats provide a ground-surface reinforcement layer to support heavy loads over soft subgrades. More cost-effective than other reinforcement mat systems, the GEOTERRA mats can be used for temporary or permanent applications and are reusable. Offering high crush and flexural strength, the GEOTERRA mats have demonstrated the ability to handle the forces from some of the heaviest wheeled and tracked vehicles under severe conditions. Scope of Test: The University of Kansas Geotechnical Laboratory tested the performance of the GEOTERRA and GEOTERRA mat systems over weak to intermediate subgrades with CBR values ranging from 1% to 4%. They conducted a total of 12 tests to identify threshold and limit conditions, create a data-set for modeling, and determine the equivalent crushed aggregate base. Testing Procedure: Test sections were subjected to 40 kN (9 kip) cyclic loading on a 300 mm (12 in) diameter plate. Earth pressure cells were placed over of the subgrade to measure vertical interface stress distribution. Loading plate displacements were measured by the displacement transducer inside the actuator. Test Observations: The following conclusions were determined for the GEOTERRA and GEOTERRA GTO Structural Mat Systems: The GEOTERRA mats provide additional… Read more »

Porous Pavements Myth Busters: Cost

Written By: William G Handlos, P.E. Does a porous pavement solution cost more? Porous pavements are less expensive to install than impervious concrete or asphalt when you consider total project costs. When evaluating parking lot construction costs for porous pavements vs. impervious alternatives, you must consider the following cost “buckets.” Traditional pavements such as bituminous asphalt or Portland cement concrete enjoy low cost and ubiquitous installation contractors. This information may lead one to think that choosing a porous pavement would lead to higher overall project costs, but that is a myth because almost everything else about traditional parking lot construction is far more expensive than the porous pavement alternative. Traditional hard-surface pavements require inlet structures, castings, and covers for inlets and manholes, underground pipes, outfall structures, and detention ponds. Costs & Maintenance of Stormwater Ponds Detention ponds have three major cost drivers. Land costs to locate a pond can vary wildly depending upon commercial real estate values, but it is not unusual for land to be upwards of $250,000/acre even in small markets. The impact of the land utilized for detention ponds does not end there. Lost rental or income value is another cost consideration. Ponds take up valuable commercial… Read more »

Porous Pavements Myth Busters: Snow Removal

Written By: Samantha Justice, P.E. What You Need to Know About Removing Snow from Porous Pavements Vehicle and pedestrian use on porous pavements don’t stop because it’s winter. Roads need to be plowed, parking lots need to be cleared, and walking paths need to be snow and ice-free for safe use. This is true for all surface types: concrete, asphalt, and porous pavements—however, it is a common misconception that snow removal is more challenging with porous pavement systems. Myth Busted: Snow removal on a Porous Pavement System (PPS) is easy! Get the answers below to the frequently asked questions about removing snow from plastic, modular type porous pavers.   Can I Apply Salt to Porous Pavements? Applying salt or ice melt chemicals to gravel-filled PPS surfaces encourages snow and ice to melt, the same as it would on a concrete road. Most porous paver units are made with High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), a strong plastic that has a high resistance to environmental factors and is chemically inert. Cold temperatures and freezing and melting snow or ice will not cause damage or deformation to the paver material. Most importantly, HDPE is chemically stable, so it will not react to applied deicers,… Read more »

Porous Pavements Myth Buster: Clogging

Written By: Bill Handlos, P.E. Not All Porous Pavements Clog Well-designed porous pavement systems resist clogging When designing porous pavement systems, it is important to consider the effects of silt, grit, sand, and other fine material that can slow or stop water from infiltrating. However, it is a common myth that all porous pavement systems eventually clog. A good PPS system design, simple but effective site design, and careful construction inspection and field guidance can all but eliminate the clogging threat. System Design Do’s and Don’ts Cross-sections will vary according to the porous pavement selected, but following some simple practices can ensure a successful system with long-lasting percolation. Never place filter fabric immediately below the porous pavement surface. Whether you are using pervious concrete, porous asphalt, polyethylene injection-molded paving block (such as GEOBLOCK vegetated or GEOPAVE aggregate PPS), or concrete paving stone, your cross-section should allow free flow from the paving layer to the base and storage layers. The last thing you want is to trap water in your pavement layer. Surprisingly, at least one aggregate PPS manufacturer sells their product with a filter fabric attached to the bottom of the units. Always use a filter fabric or other separator at the bottom of… Read more »

Porous Pavements Myth Buster: Winter Durability

Written By: Bill Handlos, P.E. Properly designed porous pavement systems will not be damaged by the dynamics of freeze-thaw cycles. For decades, civil engineering roadway designers have been trained to use positive drainage, crack sealing, and sealcoating to keep the area under pavement dry. The prevailing mentality was to use a well-graded, tightly compacted base under impervious concrete or asphalt wearing surfaces. When water gets between the well-graded base and the impervious surface, frost conditions would lift pavements, weaken the base structure, create potholes and, in general, wreak havoc with the life of the pavement.    So, it is not surprising that age-old tenets related to moisture, seepage, and freeze-thaw cycles get mistakenly applied to porous pavement systems. What makes well-designed porous pavement cross-sections so resistant to the power of freezing and expanding water? The answer is space. Poorly graded crushed aggregate offers up to a 40% void ratio, which gives water a place to move and expand upon freezing, and a network of pathways to drain. High void ratio systems allow the Earth’s natural warmth to move up from below the frost line into and through the open-air system just as water and ice-melt move through the system. If… Read more »

Porous Pavements Myth Buster: Winter Maintenance

Winter Maintenance for Porous & Pervious Pavements Porous pavement systems are a great way to reduce the amount of stormwater runoff on your site and incorporate Low Impact Development (LID) practices. One of the simplest ways of creating a porous pavement area is to confine unbound aggregate in a rigid paving unit such as the GEOPAVE® Aggregate Porous Paver. The GEOPAVE system is similar to pervious concrete and porous asphalt solutions, but is usually both less expensive and easier to install. Porous Pavements Are Difficult to Maintain in Winter Weather Conditions.   NOT TRUE! The GEOPAVE Gravel Pavers are easy to maintain, and requires no special equipment. GEOPAVE parking lots or low volume roadways can be maintained in much the same way as a regular concrete or asphalt surface. An unbound aggregate system has many maintenance benefits over other porous pavement systems. Look at the table below and you’ll see how the GEOPAVE system beats pervious concrete and porous asphalt every time.     (Click Chart to Zoom)   The GEOPAVE rigid porous pavement system is comparable to standard paving materials, and a cut above other porous pavement systems. GEOPAVE systems have all of the benefits of hard surface porous pavements—fast… Read more »