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Financial benefits of using geosynthetics

The use of geosynthetics in civil engineering applications often offers financial benefits, reducing the cost of imported materials, reducing waste and generally providing a more efficient use of resources compared to traditional soil, concrete and steel-based solutions (Jones 2015). In 2014, at the 11th International Conference on Geosynthetics in Berlin, Christopher (2014) gave an original and unparalleled review of the cost savings brought by geosynthetics in which he focused on the construction of civil engineering projects such as roads, embankments, containment structures, erosion control elements, drainage systems, reservoirs and waste containment systems.

The use of geosynthetics in pavements is well documented for their long-term performance and the following four types of cost savings:

(1) reduction in the amount or need for selected soil materials

(2) easier and/or accelerated construction

(3) improved long-term performance

(4) improved durability

In many cases, the economic benefit is such that the use of geosynthetics is now common practice. This is the case for the following scenarios.

(1) Geotextile filters in drainage applications: in this case, the geotextile reduces the size of edge drainage ditches; the savings from reduced excavation volume and reduced filter material volume are significantly greater than the cost of geosynthetics.

(2) GRS: GRS are almost always cheaper than conventional reinforced concrete and gravity retention systems due to the system’s lower overall material costs (typically 25% to 50%).

(3) Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil Slopes (RSS): RSSs are cost-effective alternatives for new construction where a steeper slope is desired. By repairing a slope break, the new slope will be safer and reusing the debris from the landslide rather than importing a better-quality landfill can result in substantial savings. RSSs can be built for about half the cost of GRSs and therefore offer a viable cost-effective alternative.

(4) Geosynthetics used in reinforced soil slope construction: For fragile soils, geosynthetics used in reinforced soil slopes reduce the displacement of subgrade soil that would be required to construct unreinforced slopes. The amount of backfill saved often outweighs the cost of the reinforcement, and additional savings are often realized by quickly constructing the backfill when using geosynthetic reinforcement.

(5) Geosynthetics in Waste and Containment Systems: The biggest cost savings from material substitution are for geosynthetics used in landfill applications and, to a lesser extent, other containment applications such as reservoirs. In fact, the savings come not just from the difference in cost between the geosynthetic and the material replaced, but more importantly, from the value of the volume of space saved by using very thin geosynthetic materials to replace the larger geological barrier. regulations allow.

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