Hydraulics & Waterways


397516 - River Bank Stabilization Utilizing Rock Vanes in Puerto Rico

Wednesday, June 6
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
Location: Regency Room
Co-Authors: Gregory Morris, San Juan, Puerto Rico – Gregory L. Morris Engineering; Pully Torres, San Juan, Puerto Rico – Torres-Rosa Consulting Engineers

Traditional structures used in Puerto Rico to stabilize eroding rivers banks failed to provide reliable protection against erosion and meandering. Gabions, sheet piles, concrete walls, and rip rap are examples of structures which also have adverse aesthetic impacts. Gabions are susceptible to corrosion and do not represent a long term solution. Sheet piles and concrete walls are expensive alternatives mainly because the required construction procedures. Both alternatives reduce the river bank surface friction and accelerate flow velocity promoting the erosion capacity of the stream. Environmental impacts of typical structures are also significant. The use of stones as an alternative offers a reliable solution for stream bank protection and if strategically installed can have less environmental impact than other alternatives.
This paper outlines the engineering controls designed and installed to stabilize a river bank segment of approximately 350 m at Río Gurabo in Puerto Rico. The design strategy consisted on providing a sustainable, environmental friendly and economically feasible structural control to stabilize the bank and prevent future erosion. Structural controls includes the installation of seven rock vanes to redirect the erosive forces from the river bank toward the center of the channel, and the construction of a rock bench which serves as an adequate structure to tie in the rock vanes, and provide additional protection to the bank toe. This document summarizes the planning, geomorphologic and engineering evaluations, permitting, design and construction phase of the project. The performance of the system under flood event that occurred during Hurricane María is discussed.

Rafael Rosa

Torres-Rosa Consulting Engineers


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397516 - River Bank Stabilization Utilizing Rock Vanes in Puerto Rico

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