How to Stop Soil Erosion with Fast Retaining Wall System Construction

Project Name

Two Mile Creek Channel #126

Customer Name
Town of Tonawanda, NY

Design / Specifying Engineer
URS Engineers

Block Manufacturer
Kistner Concrete Products Inc.

Wall Installer
Northeast Diversification

Project Location
Tonawanda, NY

Year Built
2010

Project Scope

Redi-Rock Channel Protects Public Park

THE CHALLENGE

When the banks of Two Mile Creek began to erode, the Town of Tonawanda, New York needed an aesthetic soil erosion solution—on a tight schedule.

Two Mile Creek runs through Sheridan Park, a par 71 public golf course that is often rated in the top public courses in western New York. "The original channel walls along the creek were built in the 1940s out of sandbags filled with concrete, stacked on top of each other. There was no drainage behind the walls at all," explained project engineer Dan Milewski with URS Corp. The lack of drainage behind the walls was causing the banks of the creek to slough off.

To create an aesthetic solution while also preventing further soil erosion of the creek banks, the town turned to local Redi-Rock manufacturer Kistner Concrete Products, Inc. Several years earlier, the first phase of this project was completed. The results were so successful that when it was time to design the second phase, Redi-Rock was obvious choice.

DESIGN

Designing the waterway to meet the 100 year flood levels was a significant factor of this project's design. The majority of the project was designed using Redi-Rock 41 In. concrete blocks, but engineers designed several sections of the channel using Redi-Rock's 9 In. Setback blocks to give the channel walls more gradual slopes. These 9 In Setback sections terraced back from the rest of the walls to create a secondary flood plain.

The town wanted to keep the existing bridges and abutments in place so the project design called for using Redi-Rock's standard batter blocks to taper the channel along the inside of the abutments. To keep the volume of the channel consistent, the channels depth in these areas was increased.

The wall design ranged in height from 4 ft. to 7.5 ft., totaling 15,000 sq. ft. of Redi-Rock.

CONSTRUCTION

The project was on a very tight schedule. To minimize disruption to the golf course's landscape and usage, the town scheduled this project to be installed in the middle of winter, starting in January 2010. The goal was to have the golf course open in April, leaving a short window for construction.

Kistner had Redi-Rock inventory on hand, and was able to keep up with the construction schedule by double casting blocks each day. The channel walls were built as gravity structures, which minimized excavation and installation and helped the project meet its deadline. The entire project was installed in just 60 days.

Once the ground was frozen, the crews were able to bring in trucks loaded with blocks. The stream flow was minimal at the time of construction, but the channel was coffer damned to allow the Redi-Rock walls to be installed. The crew created a crushed stone leveling pad before placing the first row of Redi-Rock 60 in. base blocks to prevent overturning of the walls.

To address the drainage issue the existing wall had, the crew installed underdrains throughout the walls. "The biggest benefit of using Redi-Rock on this project was the ability to have proper drainage behind the walls," Milewski said.

THE OUTCOME

"The town was really pleased with how the project turned out. When I went to snap pictures of the job, a golfer stopped me and said—completely unsolicited—"This looks awesome! Nice job," Mike Kistner said.

When the golf course opened in April, the response was overwhelmingly positive. Redi-Rock's ability to build sweeping inside and outside curves created natural-looking meanders, and the Redi-Rock Top Blocks gave the project a finished aesthetic.

The project was awarded "Water Application of the Year" in the 2010 Redi-Rock International Rocky Awards.

Design Manual

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