GRS-IBS Rhode Island

Vertica® Pro replacement bridge project

Key Features

Wall Area

11,000 sq. ft.


East Providence, Rhode Island


APG New England, an Oldcastle® company

Wall Design Engineer

SRG Engineering, Inc. East Hartford, CT

Wall Contractor

Manafort Brothers, Inc - Plainville, CT

GRS-IBS Rhode Island  Before
GRS-IBS Rhode Island  After

The Challenge

Like many states, Rhode Island continues to make its way through a backlog of transportation projects in order of the most pressing.  In late 2015, two interstate highway bridges (East Shore Expressway bridge #475 and McCormick Quarry Bridge #476) were at a major failing point and replacement was paramount.  The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) decided to use a new innovative bridge design - Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil-Integrated Bridge System, better known as GRS-IBS - to replace the failing bridge abutments.  This new method was recently promoted by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and would be the first of its kind in Rhode Island, making it a high-profile project for the state. 

The Solution

GRS-IBS requires installing segmental retaining wall (SRW) blocks with layers of specified aggregates and geosynthetic reinforcement to build the bridge abutment retaining walls, eliminating the need for construction of bridge piles.  The design and specifications may vary state-to-state but are strictly adhered to.  The GRS-IBS system is proving to outperform traditional single-span bridges throughout the U.S.  In addition, using the GRS-IBS system not only significantly reduces all constructioin costs relative to a traditioinal bridge replacement, but minimizes the impact on daily traffic, the number of detours and total constructions time.  In short, this technology represented huge cost savings and multiple benefits to the entire state of Rhode Island. 

The RIDOT project was built underneath the overpasses without detouring traffic the entire time of construction for both bridges.  The only inconvenience to the general public was the actual transition time from a Friday morning to the following Monday.  In a time space of merely 80 hours, the roadways were closed, the old brige supports underneath were demolished, and the new bridge structures were lifted into place and opened for traffic.  A traditional bridge replacement project would have required that the interstate roadways be closed with detours for a month or longer. 

The Results

This Rhode Isalnd GRS-IBS project is estimated to be on of the largest of its kind east of the Mississippi RIver.  "While ANCHOR DIAMOND℠ has had success, this was the first project built on a major thoroughfare," said John Huyck, PE with Anchor Wall Engineering, LLC (AWE), who provided design support for the project.  "It was a high-profile, high pressure project with on-site cameras and RIDOT staff on-site monitoring the whole process.  Our team came through, and the project has been a huge success."

Going forward, ANCHOR DIAMOND plans to partner with more state transportation departments looing to save moeny, time and labor, and still deliver a high-quality product that meets all specifications. 

"The Rhose Island proejct was an achievement, but we also learned quite a bit that can be applied to improve future projects," stated Huyck.  "As a partner, we can be a signficant resource during planning and design on proejcts where DOT's plan to implement GRS-IBS technology.

ANCHOR DIAMOND possess the technical resources to support this type of DOT proejct and maintains world-class manufacturing facilities throughout the country. 

Download PDF