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Designing Sustainable Ports & Yards with 3D Geocells

Stabilization for Higher-Performing Pavements

Ports and intermodal yards in coastal areas are more prone to pavement problems due to inherent soft, unsupportive soils and high water levels. Heavy traffic patterns and the constant weight of loaded parked trailers and stacked containers at these facilities can accelerate the degradation of the paved or unpaved surfaces and subbase materials. The repeated pressure over poor soil conditions results in settlement, ruts, potholes, and even pavement failure. These surface problems require continual, costly maintenance and interruptions to facility operations. But the problem isn’t at the surface—it’s a base stabilization problem.

Transforming Base Materials through 3D Confinement

Creating and ensuring a stable surface supportive of the long-term, heavy traffic needs starts with better stabilization of the base materials. The GEOWEB® 3D Confinement System is built for this function. The system’s deep, cellular network controls both the horizontal and vertical movement of unstable base soils. When vertical loads are applied, active earth pressures in the loaded GEOWEB® cells push against passive earth pressures in adjacent cells to form a stable system. The benefits of confining fill are applied to both base reinforcement and unpaved surface applications.

Permeable Unpaved Pavements

Utilizing the GEOWEB® 3D system at the surface, unpaved yards and roads may be designed with highly-permeable, open-graded aggregate (low fines).

There is a notable environmental benefit with this approach. The pavement layer and base materials perform as an on-site stormwater detention basin, where it can store water in the void spaces for natural infiltration. The storage capability can reduce stormwater infrastructure and stormwater pond volumes. Without fines in the surface layer, drainage is also greatly improved. Water can flow freely through the system preventing pore pressure build-up and global failure of the cross-section. Where clean aggregate sources are not available, salvaged or low-quality aggregate material may be used to reduce material and hauling costs.

Base Reinforcement Under Paved Surfaces

In the base layer, GEOWEB® confinement is beneficial under asphalt, reinforced, and rolled compacted concrete, especially in areas with low CBR subgrades and drainage issues. Reducing stress on the subgrade allows a thinner pavement layer. Differential and long-term settlement is also reduced—resulting in extended pavement life.

Design Pavements for Better Performance

The selection of the GEOWEB® pavement solution is influenced by loading, subgrade soils, traffic frequency, and infill type. A free project evaluation from the manufacturer utilizing the AASHTO design method helps determine design feasibility.