Abstract

Author

Dan MacDonald, P.Eng., MSE Division Manager, Nilex Inc.

Conference

Paper prepared for presentation at the Goods Movement – Past, Present and Future Session of the 2014 Conference of the Transportation Association of Canada - Montreal, Quebec.

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Supporting Highway Infrastructure Through the Use of Green Steepened Slopes TAC 2014 (3.22 MB)

 
This presentation will focus on actual examples of the practical application of environmentally responsible, steepened-slopes to support major highway infrastructure across the Canadian Landscape.
 
The author’s intention is to impart to the audience the current level of sophistication these designs currently demand, so that stakeholders making decisions in public infrastructure know exactly where such slope designs may integrate with Future Infrastructure Needs.
 
The objective is to demonstrate that such slopes are a viable engineering alternative to more traditional concrete facing methods, where grade separations are requisite. With an increased mandate on engineering teams to provide cost effective transportation solutions, coupled with public demand for minimizing the environmental footprint, this presentation will focus on the practical benefits realized when slopes are employed.
 
The presentation will provide a brief background on design methodology, ease of construction, and more specifically; emphasis on habitat enhancement as it pertains to sensitive creek or wetland crossings. Successful slope design is contingent on harnessing the collective efforts of all civil engineering disciplines involved on such projects, and should not be solely considered as a geotechnical challenge designed in isolation.
 
Past and Present examples will be provided where recent consortiums have selected the Sierra® Vegetated Slope as a productive method to construct approach slopes leading up to bridge supporting structures. Practical construction benefits for advancing construction schedules in poorer bearing soils will also be emphasized, and illuminated for the audience. A comparative example of a typical green-slope versus a traditional concrete-faced option will be demonstrated to illustrate the benefit in minimizing the carbon footprint when green solutions are employed.
 
Such facing systems are comprised of a combination of synthetic structural face-wrapping, erosion or turf reinforcement mats, and carefully selected topsoil in combination with suitable planting species to make such structures a success for all stakeholders. A description of typical slope systems ranging from 69 to 45 degrees (inclined to the vertical); will be highlighted during the course of the discussion.
 
Canada has the unique challenge of varied climatic conditions, and a mosaic of Nilex Inc. and Tensar International projects will be featured during the course of the presentation.