You have probably noticed the roadworks as well as the famous orange cone areas lately. Did you know that lightweight embankment blocks made from expanded polystyrene are sometimes used in the construction of our roads? They allow faster execution of works, while ensuring This prevents to having to do the same work all over again only a few years later; which means less orange cones, and less risk of being stuck in a traffic jam!

Why Are Road Embankment Relief Techniques Used?

The Ministère des Transports, de la Mobilité durable et de l’Électrification des Transports uses several techniques to lighten road embankments. As some road sections are built on compressible soils, such as clay or peatlands, these techniques are necessary to prevent excessive settlement or stability issues. They can also be used when construction timelines do not allow for expected clay stabilization levels or if site’s configuration does not allow for stable embankments resting on low bearing capacity soil.

What Materials Can Be Used?

Embankments that are most often lightened are the ones near bridges, close to culverts, or simple road embankments. One of the materials used for those embankments is polystyrene blocks. Lightweight embankments help control harmful settlements, allow road maintenance costs reduction, cancel or reduce deformation and negative friction that might be detrimental to bridge abutments and footing support piles, to release pressure on culverts, and ensure stability of embankment resting on low bearing capacity soils.

Remblai léger

Polystyrene is regularly used and is the preferred material when required lightening becomes too important for other materials. According to the ministry, in order to obtain the same relief as polystyrene, 1.54 times thicker wood residue would be required.

Interesting Fact

Did you know there is polystyrene under highway 55 at Boulevard des Acadiens in Nicolet? Many roads have been built on polystyrene blocks in Quebec!


For more information click here.