UMA to Break NCDOT Record for Largest Square Footage of Soil Nail Wall

UMA Geotechnical Construction, a North Carolina-based geotechnical contractor serving the Mid-Atlantic Region, is working on a project that will become the largest square footage of soil nail walls done under a single contract in North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) history. The contractor is on track to construct roughly 115,610 square feet of wall along Interstate 26 by April of 2022.

UMA is working as a geotechnical subcontractor to A Fluor-led joint venture (JV) with United Infrastructure Group, Inc. The project, formally known as NCDOT I-26 Exit 40 to I-40 Interstate Expansion Project, will help to alleviate traffic congestion and improve the safety and operational efficiency of this vital stretch of interstate in the Asheville area.

UMA commenced work in September 2020 and will ultimately construct 15 soil nail walls of varying heights, ranging in square footage from less than 1,000 to more than 25,000. All are permanent walls consisting of epoxy-coated soil nails, bearing plates, and a decorative cast-in-place concrete finish.

The magnitude of the project required UMA to rely on several local material suppliers. The I-26 project was subject to the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Buy America policy, so UMA secured nearly a half million pounds of domestic structural steel for the epoxy-coated soil nail bars from Skyline Steel. Reinforcing steel is being sourced from Guaranteed Supply Company. Roanoke Cement is supplying nearly 2 million pounds of Portland Cement required to bond the reinforcing tendons to the surrounding soil and rock, and enough shotcrete to cover a football field with an 8-inch layer.

The widening project also required a wider, taller, and more aesthetically pleasing Blue Ridge Parkway Bridge over I-26. UMA was tapped to install 35 rock anchors for the new three-span precast segmental bridge.

“UMA is proud to play an integral part on the Fluor-United JV for the I-26 project,” says President Brian DeSpain. “Our combined efforts will help to improve traffic flow in the area while also retaining the natural beauty of Asheville.”

An industry leader in the development and refinement of innovative polymer grouting techniques, UMA Geotechnical Construction, Inc. creates specialized solutions to assist clients with ground engineering needs that save money and minimize downtime. As one of the first to use lightweight structural polymers to improve subsurface soils at depths greater than 40 feet, UMA is uniquely equipped to deliver safe, predictable, and effective results. The team includes industry experts in structural support, earth retention, and soil stabilization with decades of experience, and is dedicated to ongoing advancement in the field.