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Geosynthetics as a Component of Sustainability in Pavement Structure Design for Arterial Roadways


Geotextiles and Geogrids are two specific families of Geosynthetics and are discussed in the context of pavement structure design in this paper. Geotextiles materials perform five major functions: separation, reinforcement, filtration, drainage and containment. 1 Geogrids function almost exclusively as reinforcement materials. In pavement structures, geogrids are generally cost competitive against the granular material they replace, either through lower initial cost or through extended service life of the pavement structure. This paper examines a means to compare traditional pavement structure designs, absent of geosynthetics, to pavement structure designs incorporating geosynthetics. Firstly, a specific road structure design is presented with corresponding traditional road structure components recommended. The road structure is then re-examined incorporating newly developed, reengineered geogrid. Benefits of incorporating geotextile fabrics into the pavement structure as a material separator and drainage medium are examined. Secondly, costs associated with this particular design are outlined, analyzed and compared. In this case, cost savings achieved by using geogrid are substantial. These savings are realized by the reduction of several thousand cubic meters (m3) of granular base course and decreased excavation costs. Finally, keeping in mind the context of the 2011 TAC Conference theme, “Transportation Successes: Let’s Build on Them”, this paper highlights how the engineering industry is addressing sustainability issues in the field of pavement structure design. Materials associated with geosynthetics are largely environmentally sustainable and reduce the need for non-renewable resources. The benefits of geogrid use in terms of sustainability and the potential reduction of the engineering industry’s carbon footprint are investigated.

Conference Paper Details

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Brian Morrison