In July 2016, torrential rainfall in and around Ellicott City, Maryland, caused severe flash flooding that destroyed much of the historic Old Town portion of the city. Intense thunderstorms dropped as many as 6 inches of rain in 3 hours. The widespread flooding caused a 6-foot-high, 200-foot-long retaining wall to collapse along the east side of Woodstock Road in Woodstock, Maryland. As a result, the Howard County Department of Public Works needed a fast and sustainable solution to keep the road safe and open to motorists.
EBA Engineering, Inc. (EBA) provided design and construction phases services for the retaining wall replacement. Significant project challenges included an expedited construction schedule, considerable site constraints, and various environmental conditions. To save both time and money, a new precast modular block retaining wall system was designed as a gravity wall to replace the existing concrete retaining wall.
Once the demolition and excavation were complete, the contractor was able to erect more than 200 feet of Stone Strong® modular wall in less than a week. This reduced the construction duration by 4–5 weeks compared to the traditional cast-in-place method. This also meant a much shorter disruption to traffic patterns and bus routes during the school year. In all, residents and visitors benefitted from a quick, innovative solution to a potential travel nuisance.