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Replacing Soil with EPS Geofoam for Slope Stabilization

eps geofoam blocks

Slopes are important building blocks for infrastructure such as areas of open land forming a slope, road and railway embankments, and canals. One reason they are often used in infrastructure projects is that they are usually less expensive to build than retaining walls.

Consequences of slope failure

We all know how scary landslides can be. You probably remember the news of the Mount Saint Helens landslide in 1980 that killed 57 people. Luckily, most sloping slides don’t involve catastrophic death and destruction. Most are “shallow” slope failures, a term referring to shallow slope failures that occur in highway cuts along hills and mountains, levee slopes, and levees.

Although shallow slope failures are not as dramatic as landslides, they still have a large impact. A slip on a slope can cause serious damage to our infrastructure systems such as bridges, culverts, docks, guardrails, sidewalks and reduce the life of these structures. Particularly affected are the departments of transport, which have to deal directly with slope landslides.

If sloping terrain and debris flow onto highways and roads, they can disrupt the flow of traffic and potentially lead to accidents. Roads and bridges can be closed for weeks or months and traffic can be diverted. When our transportation systems are negatively impacted, it can be difficult for employees to get to work and refuel at their destination. As you can see, a slope shift can also have a large indirect economic impact on our economy.

Improving slopes with geofoam

The use of EPS geofoam reduces the overall weight of the slope, thus lowering the driving forces. EPS geofoam is super light: just 1 percent of the weight of the soil weighing 110 to 120 pounds per cubic foot. This means it can significantly reduce the pressure and load against a hill edge and reduce shear stress on underlying soils, substructures or adjacent structures by reducing lateral and lateral slope movement. All of this means a more stable slope.

Soil is prone to erosion, which can cause slope degradation, but erosion is not a problem for EPS geofoam. It is strong (up to 60 psi) with a high pressure resistance ratio, so it can withstand harsh conditions. It does not rot, deteriorate under normal conditions and does not decompose over time, making it virtually maintenance free. In addition, the closed cell structure (98% air) of the EPS geofoam prevents the ingress of moisture. EPS geofoam resists vibration by absorbing the impact of earthquakes and jolts to keep the slope more stable.

Finally, because EPS geofoam is so lightweight, construction workers can lift and position parts by hand. No heavy earthmoving equipment required. This provides a quicker and easier installation than using the land.

So, if your project includes improving slope stability, whether it’s a new project or repairing an existing hill or embankment, consider using EPS geofoam. With EPS geofoam you have the potential to improve the longevity and stability of slopes, significantly reduce the amount of maintenance required, get the job done faster and easier, reduce manpower and save money. Now, that’s not wise!

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