In the early 1900s, the Village of Saranac Lake in New York built a beautiful cobblestone masonry wall to hold back a hillside and allow a road to be built. After years of doing its job, stones ranging from baseball-size to basketball-size began falling out of the wall with each freeze and thaw, making it hazardous for pedestrians and motorists.
In 2009, the village decided it was time to tackle the issue. To find the best solution, the village contacted Joe Garso, P.E. and Principal Engineer of North Woods Engineering for a recommendation.
"The village had a limited budget and wanted to use a product they could install themselves," Garso explained. "Redi-Rock was a great fit due to its modular nature and ease of installation. The village was able to use all their own equipment and their own crew, plus the aesthetics of the finished product looked like it fit into the village. It seemed to make the best sense to do a Redi-Rock wall here."
Redi-Rock is an engineered, precast retaining wall system that utilizes massive blocks weighing over one ton each to create usable land. Each Redi-Rock block is cast in a mold taken from natural stone, giving projects an aesthetic stone finish. The blocks are made of wet-cast concrete for durability in freeze-thaw cycles. Redi-Rock has been used in successful road, bridge, and DOT projects in thousands of locations and has a proven track record for building tall gravity walls, and even taller reinforced walls.
"Part of the advantage of using a Redi-Rock gravity wall was that they didn't have to dig up the park to put the wall in. They didn't have to excavate to install grid," explained Tim Dodd of local Redi-Rock retailer, Redi-Rock of the Adirondacks.
In total, 65 linear feet (19.8 meters) of masonry wall needed to be removed and replaced. The height of the wall varied from 8 feet (2.4 meters) to 10 feet (3 meters).
To install the new Redi-Rock Cobblestone texture wall, only one lane of the road needed to be closed. The Village stored the blocks a quarter mile (1.6 kilometers) away at their garage and brought them to the construction site as needed during construction. In total, the wall took just 5 days to install.
"A lot of people were concerned when they found out that the cobble masonry wall would be replaced with a concrete block wall. But the aesthetics of the Redi-Rock Cobblestone texture has been a great fit and people have been really happy with it," Garso said.
"The DPW (Department of Public Works) was really pleased and we've had absolutely no problems with the wall whatsoever. It all came together really well," Dodd added.
Project: Garwood Park Retaining Wall #129 Owner: Village of Saranac Lake Manufacturer: Redi-Rock Walls of the Adirondacks Engineer: Joe Garso, Principal of North Woods Engineering Installer: Village of Saranac Lake Location: Village of Saranac Lake, New York Year Built: 2010
Gravity Retaining Wall Blocks - Massive, one-ton Redi-Rock gravity blocks rely on the sheer mass of each block to hold back the earth.
Cobblestone Texture Blocks - Redi-Rock Cobblestone blocks feature a great stacked stone aesthetic with the appearance of six smaller blocks.
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