Katoen Natie Industrial Track

Baytown, Texas

Katoen Natie (KTN) was looking for an alternative option to solve this subgrade issue that had been a persistent issue. KTN considered removing the track, excavating and replacing the subgrade. However, this option was expensive and would greatly impact their operation. Geopier® was selected to provide a solution unlike methods used in the past.

  • Owner: Katoen Natie
  • General Contractor: Mainline Railroad Contractors, Inc
  • Geotechnical Engineer: Raba-Kistner Consultants, Inc
Client's Challenge

 An onsite inspection was performed focusing on a 800ft section of track having a history of surface defects and repeated maintenance. The site inspection revealed soft, wet molded clay soils below the ballast that were indicated by track deformation and mud pumping.

Geopier® Solution

The solution for this project consisted of 5-7 ft GeoSpikeā„   elements installed so that the GeoSpike apexes were 1 ft below the existing ties. The GeoSpike elements were installed in pairs spaced every tie to resist a Cooper E-80 derived working load of 16kips per GeoSpike. Approximately 800 GeoSpikes were installed in the 800’ section in about 10 days using a hyrail excavator with vibratory driver. Geopier was able to work in-between trains and clear the track for traffic. The project was completed in conjunction with the switching operations with minimal impact on the revenue service. After the installation a sample load test was conducted on an installed element, resulting in .17” deflection at 150% of design load. The track was surfaced after the installation of the GeoSpikes.

Installation Results

A Load Test was performed following installation to confirm that elements were supporting the measurable load without deflection. Results were as expected. A follow up inspection was performed six months after installation. The inspection included a motion capture of the vertical deflection using a laser and high-speed camera. The test showed 1/8” of vertical deflection.