Building Support Systems from GeoStructures Support FDA Campus Project

Access to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration campus in White Oak, Md. will be possible from Cherry Hill Road following construction of a triple-span arch and approach structures by design-build contractor GeoStructures. The company will install Impact Pier® elements for ground improvement to support mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) walls for the arch abutments and approaches, and a triple-span CON/SPAN arch over Perennial Creek.

Impact Pier® System

While the original plan called for excavating up to 40 feet of undocumented fill and replacing it with engineered material, GeoStructures introduced a cost-effective alternative consisting of installation of 725 elements to improve the fill soils in place on the site. Also known as Rammed Aggregate Pier® (RAP) elements, they will range in depth up to 40 feet to support the embankments and MSE wall fills, which extend almost 225 feet on both sides of the arches. The MSE walls will be designed and supplied by GeoStructures’ subsidiary EarthTec.

“This is the type of project where the ability to deliver a multi-product design-build solution really stands out,” says Michael Cowell, P.E., president of GeoStructures. “Multiple geo-structural components can be delivered under one subcontract with seamless continuity from preliminary and final engineering through construction.”

The team for the East Access Road project includes general contractor Total Engineering, civil designer Greenhorne & O’Mara, arch design and supplier Contech Construction Products and geotechnical engineering consultant ECS Limited.

When completed, the FDA campus will accommodate nearly 9,000 employees in 14 interconnected laboratories, office buildings and support facilities. The FDA and the U.S. General Services Administration expect that consolidation of the 39 facilities currently in use around Greater Washington will lead to greater collaboration and cost savings.


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