Aug 31, 2018

Caltrans Uses GCCM to Improve Drainage System

Product offers easy installation & low cost

Product offers easy installation & low cost

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) District Three Maintenance Department determined that a drainage system at the interchange of highways 65 and 70 in Olivehurst, Calif., needed maintenance. The drainage system combines runoff water from the roadways into a concrete drainage ditch that was functioning properly but showing significant surface deterioration. The department also wanted to increase the flow capacity of the channel to ensure that it could handle the increasing storms that have been facing the area. 


The department office evaluated several options for the existing concrete trapezoid channels, and Concrete Cloth geosynthetic cementitious composite mats (GCCM) were chosen for the following reasons:

  • Limited disturbances to surrounding right-of-way, adjacent properties and traffic, and ability to operate during installation if major rain occurs; 
  • Minimal effects on any current hydraulic flow conditions of the channel and its ability to increase hydraulic flow capacity;
  • Ease of installation by Caltrans maintenance crews or local unspecialized contractors;
  • Long-term functional longevity;
  • Minimal installation time;
  • Reduced total cost of the system; and
  • Environmental friendliness.

“This project was ideal for Concrete Cloth GCCM,” said Robert Sjoquist, a distributor with Soil Solutions Inc. in Camarillo, Calif. “With financial and time constraints, there is nothing faster or less expensive than this product. I’ve been working with it for more than four years, and my clients continue to reorder additional materials.”


The current ditch was de-vegetated, anchor trenches were installed at the top of both sides of the existing drainage ditch, and major cracked openings of the ditch were filled with a quick-set concrete fill material to minimize any piping event caused by groundwater flow that might later occur. The GCCM was installed from down-gradient to up-gradient perpendicular to the flow, and shingled overlaps were caulked and nailed directly to the existing concrete swale.

“I saw a demonstration of Concrete Cloth GCCM before and noticed how easy it was to install,” said the transportation engineer for Caltrans District Three. “When I needed to repair this concrete ditch, I reached out to Kurt Chirbas from Milliken Infrastructure and Robert with Soils Solutions, and we agreed that Concrete Cloth GCCM was an ideal option for the project.”

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The transportation engineer has been back to the site two months after the installation and is pleased with how the resurfaced ditch looks and works. The department is looking at using GCCM for other applications, including culvert restoration; swale and ditch protection; fire, weed and rodent protection under guardrails; and slope armoring projects.