Dry-stacked retaining wall system

This retaining wall was erected by Kalode Construction using Infraset's RidgeBlok system to secure an embankment below the N1 freeway in TshwaneRidgeBlok is a new retaining wall system from Infraset Landscape Products. The dry-stacked concrete block system allows for the construction of retaining walls at angles of between 70 and 90°.

RidgeBlok has already been used extensively to shore up embankments in the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP). It has also been used to build a retaining wall, 8.5m high in some sections, at the new entrance to the Unisa campus in Pretoria.

Brennan Small, Infraset Landscape Products sales manager, says the system was chosen for the GFIP because its smooth finish makes it suitable for freeway embankments.

“If a vehicle were to collide with a RidgeBlok wall, the damage to the vehicle would be less than if the wall were built with conventional blocks,” Small explains.

He adds that the system is also suitable for tight convex or concave curves and is one of the very few concrete retaining block systems that can be used to build at a true 90°.

“Factors such as its lip-and-recess (tongue-and-groove) design, its solid concrete composition, and its mass ‘ at 24kg ‘ mean it exerts a very high clamping force, especially on the geosynthetic stabilisation material usually placed between individual blocks. So any chance of the material being worked loose is remote. This is a major advantage over conventional concrete blocks which rely on friction to prevent geosynthetic creep.

“The compressive strength of RidgeBlok allows for the construction of higher walls than can be built with hollow blocks,” Small continues. “The lip-and-recess system provides a positive interlocking force which effectively dissipates the horizontal forces exerted on the interfaces between the blocks.”

The RidgeBlok system can be used to build either a solid wall, as in the case of the GFIP ‘ where it needs to withstand the pressures of highway traffic loading, or a ‘broken’ wall ‘ where the blocks are spaced apart to allow for plant growth. Open spaces between the blocks provide a more permeable facing and prevent excessive build-up of pore-water pressure behind the wall.

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