From Soft Soils to Heavy Construction

by Robert Koerner, (M.ASCE), Dir., Geosynthetic Res. Inst.; Drexel Univ., West Wing-Rush Bldg. 10, Philadelphia, PA 19104,
Scott Fritzinger, (M.ASCE), Chief, Geotechnical Section; Philadelphia District, U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers, Philadelphia, PA 19106,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1988, Vol. 58, Issue 12, Pg. 54-66

Document Type: Feature article


A new construction technique using geotextiles and upward flowing water is bringing heavy construction to soft shores. Two projects—a truck yard in Seagirt, Md., and a containment dike in Wilmington, Del.—are employing the new technique: A geotextile fabric, seamed to enormous widths, is laid on the soft soils. Sand fill is then placed across the geotextile. Next, the vertical strip drains are speared through sand and geotextile into the soft soils to depths of 40 ft. The final surcharge is then placed to design height. As the weight of the soil pushes downward on the soft soils, water is forced into the perforated strip drains and flows upward, dispersing into the sand layer where it flows away from the site. Within 6-24 months, the soils beneath the geotextile will consolidate into a workable and usable foundation.

Subject Headings: Geosynthetics | Soil water | Soft soils | Construction management | Construction methods | Offshore construction | Sandy soils | Drainage | Delaware | United States

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