Minnesota Department of Transportation
The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) in conjunction with the Saint Anthony Falls Laboratory (SAFL) has conducted a research study on the use of matrix riprap, or partially grouted riprap, as a spill-through abutment countermeasure. Spill-through abutments at river bridges require a countermeasure to protect the abutment from erosion and scour and often riprap is used. However obtaining large enough stone to protect the abutment can significantly increase construction costs. Matrix riprap, or partially grouted riprap, is an option that will allow for smaller stone, that when partially grouted, will provide equivalent protection to larger sized riprap. This study focused on matrix riprap applied to bridge abutments and included a review of published literature; site visits and observation of matrix riprap installation; laboratory experiments to evaluate matrix riprap application/installation (e.g., non-hydraulic experiments looking at rock and grout placement); experiments to test matrix riprap on a prototype abutment within a flume (hydraulic flume experiments), and finally hydraulic experiments focused on quantifying matrix riprap strength (steep flume experiments). Study results showed that the shear strength of matrix riprap was determined to be more than three times greater than conventional riprap in a laboratory setting. Additional investigation should be completed to better understand the application and performance of the matrix riprap, however this study can be used to support the use of matrix riprap in place of larger stone or other bridge countermeasures.
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