Propex GeoSolutions Chattanooga, TN
Producer: Propex Geosynthetics
Supplier: Propex Geosynthetics
Engineer Company 1
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Project Manager Company
Shavers Whittle Construction, LLC
Please describe the project specifications
The specifications of the project was to supply high performance turf reinforcement mat (HPTRM) that provided improved erosion control to the top and side slopes of levees included in the Hurricane Storm Damage Risk Reduction System (HSDRRS). The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) embarked on one of the largest and most comprehensive public works projects in American history following the catastrophic damage caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. USACE established HSDRRS to provide the greater New Orleans Area a 100-year level of risk reduction, meaning that infrastructure would be established to defend against a storm surge that has a 1% change of occurring in any given year.
What was the purpose of this project? What did the client request?
One of the most critical measures of HSDRRS was protecting refurbished earthen levees against the erosion-causing hydraulic forces of storm surge overtopping. Without protection, overtopping can lead to significant landside erosion and potentially a breach of the levee. During Hurricane Katrina, most levee failure was due to water overtopping. The USACE requested HPTRMs that meet the standards outlines by the Erosion Control Technology Council (ECTC), EPA and Storm Water Technology Fact sheet. In addition to providing superior protection against hydraulic forces, the customer needed a solution that would be resistant to non-hydraulic stresses such as heavy mowing equipment.
What is unique or complex about the project?
To ensure the effectiveness of the project design, the USACE required rigorous testing before the project was installed. USACE partnered with Colorado State University (CSU) to build a full scale wave overtopping simulator. The simulator tested erosion resistance of armoring materials for 500-year resiliency HSDRRS overtopping conditions.
Additionally, the LSU AgCenter performed multiple non-hydraulic tests on the armoring system to evaluate the ability of vegetation to establish within the HPTRM and to test how the material would hold-up against heavy mowing equipment.
What were the results of the project?
Testing also showed that ARMORMAX provided increased levee resilience and durability while handling maintenance operations smoothly. Additionally testing showed that using an ARMORMAX system consisting of high performance turf reinforcement mat (HPTRM) with Engineered Earth Anchors reinforces vegetation on the earthen levees, which reduces the risk of breaching caused by overtopping waves.
This armoring system has been Recognized by the by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well as the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) as a Best Management Practice (BMP) to improve water quality. Additionally the patented technology use used in ARMORMAX helps lock in seeds and promotes rapid root mass development, yielding a fully vegetated solution.
The ARMORMAX 75 Engineered Earth Armoring system was installed over 1 million square yards in the New Orleans Area with plans to install another 3 million square yards in the near future.
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