TenCate Geosynthetics Netherlands bv

Geotube Shoreline Protection Prevents Damage To NASA Site - Case Study


Courtesy of TenCate Geosynthetics Netherlands bv

Almost a mile of Geotube units are helping relaunch the beach at Wallops Flight Center in Virginia.

In the fall of 2006, Hurricane Ernesto and the resulting gale force tropical storms on the East Coast caused serious beach erosion to Wallops Island, Virginia. Aggressive winds and rains severely damaged the beaches, and consequently, posed a threat to the adjacent launch pad at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility.

With a rocket mission scheduled for early '07, a plan was needed quickly to secure the surrounding area and prevent damage to the launch site's foothold. To make the timeframe even more challenging, the work would have to take place during the normally relentless, pounding tides of the winter storm season.

'TenCate, we've got a problem.'

Civil engineers at NASA turned to TenCate for a Wallops Island site assessment. The outcome of that visit was an aggressive, two-month plan using Geotube containment technology to rebuild the shore and protect it from further damage.

TenCate develops and produces materials that function to increase performance, reduce cost, and deliver measurable results by working with our customers to provide advanced solutions. For the Wallops Island challenge, Geotube shoreline protection proved to be the right solution at the right time.

The Solution

The plan called for designing, mobilizing, setting up, and filling 4,600 linear feet of Geotube units, then demobilizing - all within a two-month timeframe. Time for design and mobilization was abbreviated in an effort to maximize available pumping time while on site. Creating strategically-placed slurry pits along the tube structure was key to speeding up the tube filling process.

To ready the beach fortube placement, a D6 hightrack dozer was used. Once prepped, scour aprons, secured by anchortubesfilled with sand slurry, were positioned underneath each tube section to protect their foundation from rough wave and ocean current action. A total of 23 Geotube units were used—each 200-feet long, 34-feet in circumference, and filled with slurry mix to six feet high.

The slurry was made in two makeshift pits by mixing sand, brought in from off-site, with water pumped from both the ocean and the river estuary, which provided both fresh and salt water.

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