Construction projects face a host of problems, and the larger the project, the greater the risk there is of problems occurring. Two of the most common problems that occur on construction sites are rockfall and soil erosion, especially on sites where large structures are being constructed. Preventing rockfalls are critical for the protection of the workers as well as preventing the risk of injury and damages from falling rocks after the construction project is completed. Once the site has been cleared and is being prepared for construction of a structure, it is critical that soil erosion is controlled in order to preserve the site, minimize environmental impact, and protect the structure. Although both rockfalls and soil corrosion are concerns on a construction site, there are situations where both are serious concerns, such as if a highway or bridge is being built in a mountainous area. Here is some brief information about rockfalls and soil stabilization and the most common methods used to control them.

Soil Erosion

There are several factors that can cause soil erosion, but basically, soil erosion occurs when the uppermost layer of the ground gets moved from area to another, which is generally done by water or wind. Soil erosion is the most common cause of soil degradation, and it often occurs slowly over time and may go unnoticed, which can lead to serious structural damage. Soil stabilization is essential in protecting the shifting, movement, and sinking of the structure constructed above the soil. Some of the common methods of soil stabilization include the following:

Concrete blocks: This method consists of using concrete blocks of various sizes to construct a grid. The grid is beneficial for controlling soil erosion on waterway embankments and man-made drainage outlets.

Geotextiles: This method helps to control soil erosion as well as to provide soil stabilization in locations where roads, pipelines, or embankments are being constructed. Geotextiles are made from woven mesh. Whether the mesh is open or closed depends on various factors, such as the drainage, reinforcement, or filtration needed.

Soil nails: This method is used to prevent slope failures. It consists of installing groups of heavy steel rods into holes that have been drilled into the ground. The steel rods are capped to create a solid barrier that works in the same manner as a concrete retaining wall.

Rockfall Prevention

Rockfall prevention is essential in areas such as sloped areas that have not been stabilized. It is basically a method of preventing and controlling rocks and debris from falling. Rockfall prevention is critical in areas where large structures are being constructed, especially in areas with potential vehicle and/or pedestrian traffic. Some common methods of rockfall prevention include the following:

Hexagonal mesh: Hexagonal mesh works similar to the geotextile method used for soil stabilization in that it is constructed using a mesh material. The mesh is double-twisting to prevent the material from stretching.

HEA panels: This method of rockfall prevention consists of using panels that are made from twisted cables. HEA panels are often used on sloped landscaping that is unstable and prone to shift. It is designed to handle rocks of all sizes and is the best option for large load and heavy stress areas.

In some situations, a method known as rockfall soil embankments is used, which reduces soil erosion while preventing a rockfall. Rockfall soil embankment systems generally are less expensive to install and utilize the environmental resources in the area.

For more information, contact a company like Geotech Solutions Inc.

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