Back Yard Creek Stormwater Drainage Company

Project Name

South Fork Joe Creek Drainage Improvements #111

Customer Name
City of Tulsa, OK

Design / Specifying Engineer
Wall Design: Phillips Slaughter Rose Project

Block Manufacturer
S.I. Precast - Tulsa

Wall Installer
Crossland Heavy Construction

Project Location
Tulsa, OK

Year Built

Project Scope

As part of the city of Tulsa's ongoing storm water initiatives, the banks of South Fork Joe Creek needed to be stabilized. This portion of the creek runs through a residential neighborhood and has caused its fair share of damage over the past several years.

"The backyards were just eroding away. The creek was getting closer and closer to the backs of the houses," explained Dave Welzenbach of SI Precast, Tulsa's exclusive Redi-Rock manufacturer.

Tulsa is in a relatively flat location and as the city has grown into a metropolitan area, the increase in impermeable surfaces has caused the runoff into the creeks to increase dramatically. This has been the cause of significant erosion control issues which the city is now trying to remedy, as evidenced by the extensive projects being completed at Tulsa's Fred Creek and also Joe Creek. South Fork Joe Creek handles a great deal of storm water runoff during storm events.

In other parts of the city, drainage channels like this have been lined with almost every solution imaginable—from naturally vegetated banks, to rip rap, to cast-in-place walls. However, when the city began a muli-year, multi-project initiative to handle its storm water issues, they decided to use a unique alternative. The City chose Redi-Rock retaining walls for these projects based on several criteria:

First, the City needed a solution that would provide a structural solution, but also look good. Because South Fork Joe Creek winds through a residential neighborhood, aesthetics were important. The City also wanted the contours of the renovated channel to follow the natural flow line of the creek.

"Versatility, setback, and the ability to build tall gravity walls were a strong selling point for Redi-Rock," Welzenbach said.

The Redi-Rock segmental retaining wall system consists of wet cast concrete blocks weighing more than one ton each. These massive blocks interlock like a giant Lego system, making installation fast and easy. Coupled with a texture that looks like natural limestone, Redi-Rock was an ideal solution for Tulsa's stormwater channel stabilization needs.

The Redi-Rock system also has the ability to build serpentine curves using the standard retaining wall blocks. Inside and outside curves allow walls to follow the natural lay of the land and also control the speed of the water, further preventing soil erosion.

To stabilize the creek banks on South Fork Joe Creek, the city's engineers specified approximately 46,000 sq. ft. of Redi-Rock retaining walls. The gravity walls were designed to be 13 to 14.5 ft. tall without reinforcement and were constructed on a concrete leveling pad. Two types of Redi-Rock blocks were specified for this project: Redi-Rock Planter blocks and Redi-Rock 41 Inch blocks, both in Limestone texture.

Redi-Rock Planter blocks create walls with a 16.25 in. setback per course which creates an approximately 43 degree batter angle when used in every course. At South Fork Joe Creek, engineers used Planter blocks to create wider sections of the channel with more gradually sloping sides. In areas where space was more limited, they used Redi-Rock 41 Inch blocks, which create a four degree batter. The four degree batter angle allowed these sections of wall to easily transition into standard box culverts and underground utility boxes.

The creek stabilization project is scheduled for completed in the spring of 2010.

To learn how Redi-Rock can provide a creative solution for your next stormwater project, visit or contact Kevin Loe at (866) 222-8400 or

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