Hybrid Retaining Wall Delivers Prime Performance for Distribution Warehouse

Project Details

Owner: Unnamed Online Retailer Installer: Petillo New York LLC Engineer: SRG Engineering, Inc. Manufacturer: Mid-Hudson Concrete Products Location: Hopewell Junction, NY Year Built: 2022


Construction of a sprawling 660,000 sq ft (61316 sq m) online retail logistics center and supporting infrastructure in East Fishkill, New York, demanded the utilization of nearly every inch of the parcel hosting the facility.


A hybrid mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) and gravity wall allowed the project to navigate a difficult property line, maximize the site’s available space, and keep the construction of the vital regional economic development effort on schedule.

The Design

To gain the square footage necessary for the construction of the logistics center, the plans called for a wall along the main entrance road to the facility and tight to the property line of a parcel owned by a regional power company. Guy-wires were stabilizing utility poles within the wall’s proposed construction footprint and the wall itself infringed on the power company’s property by several feet.

The wall design consisted of both MSE and gravity systems. New York’s Hudson Valley Redi-Rock manufacturer Mid-Hudson Concrete Products supplied 28-in (710 mm) Positive Connection (PC) blocks with geogrid to form the MSE portion of the wall. MSE (or reinforced) blocks utilize anchors behind the wall – typically geogrid or earth anchors – to engage the weight of the backfill soil, adding additional stability to the wall. Finishing the wall were 28-in (710 mm) Solid blocks which leverage the mass of the blocks themselves to retain the earth without the need for additional reinforcement. The hybrid design ultimately produced a wall engineered and installed specifically to the project’s needs.

Permitted to use by Petillo 1 - Project-Redtail-East-Fishkill-New-York-16-June-2021-05_Case_Study_Image_928x522.jpgWall installer Petillo Construction worked with the adjacent property owner to gain an easement and relocation of utility pole guy-wires to enable the project to proceed as proposed. Image source: Petillo Construction. Accessed via https://petillo.com/projects/new-york/project-redtail/#uael-gallery-4

Petillo New York LLC – part of the Petillo Construction family of companies, one of the northeast’s leading heavy construction firms – was contracted to build both the warehouse and the retaining wall. Petillo’s first order of business was to secure an easement from the power company to relocate the guy-wires and allow for the installation of the wall as proposed.

The Installation

While the immediate utility and property line issues had been resolved, the proposed wall’s proximity to the neighboring property demanded a minimally intrusive installation. The expansive Redi-Rock block library includes multiple product options. These can be easily combined to build hybrid walls, providing wall designers and installers the flexibility to control the earth utilizing multiple block types working in concert with one another.

Petillo Construction engaged Mid-Hudson Concrete Products previously to supply a 24,000 sq ft (2230 sq m) wall for a high-profile casino project, so the installer was familiar with both the technology of the product and the reliability of the manufacturer. The logistics facility wall measures 1,770 ft (539.5 m) long and stands an imposing 33 ft (10 m) tall. Its 34,000 sq ft (3158 sq m) surface area makes it the most extensive single-wall system Petillo Construction has installed to date.

Permitted to use by Petillo 2 - Project-Redtail-East-Fishkill-New-York-16-June-2021-05_Case_Study_Image_928x522.jpgThe sheer size and scope of the Project Redtail effort is demonstrated by the mammoth footprint of the warehouse and a portion of the 34,000 sq ft (3158 sq m) of the Redi-Rock retaining wall installed on site. Image source: Petillo Construction. Accessed via https://petillo.com/projects/new-york/project-redtail/#uael-gallery-2

RR_Case_Study_Project_Redtail_1_Column.jpgRedi-Rock’s Positive Connection (PC) blocks are standalone components of mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) walls or can be used in concert with Solid blocks to create hybrid walls, as was the case with Project Redtail. Image source: Mid-Hudson Concrete Products

Installing initial courses of reinforced blocks and then finishing the top of the wall with a gravity solution allowed Petillo Construction to achieve the height, stability, and look they needed while limiting the use of space behind the wall and reducing associated excavation and backfilling.

June 2021 drone footage captures the early stages of Project Redtail. Video source: Petillo Construction. Accessed via https://www.youtube.com/embed/a2WYnhg7L0A

The Outcome

The construction of the enormous distribution center was a tall order, considering the need to maximize limited available land and navigate easement challenges that initially threatened the project’s viability. Project engineers utilized Redi-Rock to help them overcome both hurdles by erecting a vital retaining wall within a severely restricted footprint and delivering the solid solution the project demanded right when it was needed.

DSC_4152_Case_Study_Image_928x522.jpgThe Limestone texture of the Project Redtail wall was selected by the project partner to match two existing small-block walls already on site. Image source: Mid-Hudson Concrete Products.

DSC_4181_Case_Study_Image_928x522.jpgThe Redi-Rock wall allowed project designers to maximize the use of the sprawling East Fishkill, New York, parcel, ensuring adequate space for the warehouse building and accompanying roadways and parking areas to accommodate the hundreds of employees expected to be employed at the logistics center. Image source: Mid-Hudson Concrete Products.

Upon completion, the distribution center is expected to create more than 500 full-time jobs and up to 700 part-time positions while generating significant tax revenues for regional schools, libraries, and infrastructure. The construction process alone is anticipated to require more than 300 temporary positions.

Positive Connection (PC) Wall Blocks - Build MSE retaining walls with the revolutionary Redi-Rock Positive Connection (PC) blocks. Gravity Retaining Wall Blocks - Massive Redi-Rock gravity blocks rely on the sheer mass of each block to hold back the earth. Limestone Texture Blocks - Redi-Rock Limestone blocks mimic the texture of natural split Limestone.

Hybrid Versatility

Redi-Rock’s expansive block library works interchangeably with one another, allowing you to build the best of both worlds. Combine gravity, mechanically stabilized earth (MSE), and freestanding blocks in one wall solution.

Explore Hybrid Walls

Proven Technology & Resources

Created by engineers for engineers, Redi-Rock is backed up by the resources to create trust-worthy results. From powerful free software to design and analyze gravity and MSE walls, to a wealth of construction details and testing data, the tools and resources you need are at your fingertips.

View Tech Resources

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