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WSDOT Building Highway Ramps with Styrofoam

Friday, August 24, 2018

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Road construction for those in Puget Sound just became all the sweeter: What looks like giant sugar cubes are being used as fill for construction projects across the area, and according to the Washington Department of Transportation, they’ve been used in a number of endeavors for years.

The blocks, made of expanded polystyrene, caught the attention of local news station KOMO. The material is being used to support the northbound SR-99 off-ramp currently under construction in conjunction with the massive Alaskan Way Viaduct project.

Foam Block Fill

According to WSDOT, the foam has been around for years. Most often, the material is used in areas with soft underlying soils that could sink under the weight of compact soil.

WSDOT

Road construction for those in Puget Sound just became all the sweeter: What looks like giant sugar cubes are being used as fill for construction projects across the area, and according to the Washington Department of Transportation, they’ve been used in a number of endeavors for years.

"By placing dirt there, there would also have to be a settlement period to place the dirt and then allow for all the settlement before you can build on top of it. And so, the Geofoam can save a lot of schedule time," Gil McNabb, engineering manager for the I-405/SR167 Program, told KOMO.

The blocks are held together with a quick-setting construction adhesive. WSDOT writes on its blog: “Once all the geofoam is in place, crews tie reinforcing steel on top of it between the ramp walls and then pour concrete on top.”

According to McNabb, using the blocks is relatively easy, given that the material lighter than dirt fill, noting that each block “weighs approximately 250 pounds. So, two people can lift it and put it in place fairly readily.”

The project is slated for completion in summer 2019, and is part of building one of the bridge approach ramps for the I-405/SR 167 Interchange Direct Connector Project.

   

Tagged categories: Construction; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Roads/Highways

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