EPS Geofoam for Buried Utility Protection

EPS Geofoam for Buried Utility Protection

InsulFoam GF blocks allowed the contractor to build finish grade elevation while keeping the main intact and reduce load bearing.

las vegas paving corp_GF7Geofoam is a rigid, engineered, lightweight fill material and can benefit civil construction by reducing loads on buried utilities.  Approximately 1-2% the weight of soil and typical densities for EPS fill range between 0.7-2.85 pounds per cubic foot, maintaining a predictable compressive strength that is suitable for many structural applications.

2,200 CY or 20 trucks of EPS39 Geofoam was used over a 66″ force water main.  The contractor used the GF blocks to build finish elevation to relocate an existing wash, and used geofoam because of weight concerns over the forced main.  The soil backfill would have been too much weight strain on the existing main.  GF blocks allowed the contractor to build finish grade elevation while keeping the main intact and reduce load bearing.

The EPS Geofoam Fill Solution:

las vegas paving corp_GF11Buried utilities frequently are not designed to have additional loads placed on them, so the utilities either have to be moved or upgraded at great expense to accommodate new construction.  Instead, geofoam can be an ideal option to reduce dead and lateral loads on underground pipes, culverts, and tunnels, while at the same time providing high thermal insulation values that protect against temperature fluctuations.  Geofoam also can protect utilities during seismic activity by reducing in-situ vertical/lateral stresses.

Using geofoam as an alternative to traditional soil fill or moms in construction has many benefits that lead to overall project cost savings.  Benefits of using geofoam versus traditional fills include the following:

  • Geofoam fill can be placed easily on projects with tight construction access where the use of larger mechanical equipment may not be feasible.
  • Shotcrete, gunite, or soil can be placed directly against geofoam, eliminating the need for expensive forming.
  • Construction traffic and import costs are minimized because one flatbed truck of geofoam is equal to approximately 12 dump loads of traditional fill.
  • Project construction time is reduced because several feet thick of geofoam can be placed in a fraction of the time it takes to place and compact traditional soil fill in the required 8-12-inch lifts.
  • Less settlement decreases maintenance costs.
  • Tight construction scheduling can easily be maintained because crews can install geofoam during any type of weather or site conditions.


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