National Usage of Geosynthetic-Reinforced Soil to Support Bridges

by Daniel Alzamora, P.E., (M.ASCE), Senior Geotechnical Engineer; FHWA Resource Center,,
Jennifer E. Nicks, P.E., Ph.D., (M.ASCE), Research Geotechnical Engineer; FHWA Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center,,

Serial Information: Geo-Strata —Geo Institute of ASCE, 2015, Vol. 19, Issue 2, Pg. 34-36,38-40

Document Type: Feature article


The Geosynthetic-Reinforced Soil Integrated Bridge System (GRS IBS) was developed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) almost 20 years ago to help meet the demand for the next generation of single-span bridges in the U.S. As an alternative to conventional bridge foundations, GRS IBS is an economical solution that accelerates bridge construction while resulting in a safe, efficient design with excellent performance. By using closely-spaced, alternating layers of compacted granular fill and geosynthetic reinforcement for the foundation and abutment support, along with an integrated approach, superstructures can bear directly on the GRS IBS substructure to create a seamless and smooth transition between the bridge and roadway without using joints, deep foundations, approach slabs, or cast-in-place concrete.

Subject Headings: Bridge foundations | Soil structures | Geosynthetics | Span bridges | Infrastructure construction | Highway bridges | Reinforced concrete


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