U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590

Skip to content
Facebook iconYouTube iconTwitter iconFlickr iconLinkedInInstagram

Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations

This report is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information
Back to Publication List        
Publication Number:  FHWA-HRT-17-080    Date:  June 2018
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-17-080
Date: June 2018


Design and Construction Guidelines for Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil Abutments and Integrated Bridge Systems

PDF Version (10.7 MB)

PDF files can be viewed with the Acrobat® Reader®



This manual provides information on the design and construction of Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil (GRS) abutments and the Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil-Integrated Bridge System (GRS-IBS). It serves as a follow-up to the Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil Integrated Bridge System Interim Implementation Guide. As such, it includes several updates based on continued research conducted at the Federal Highway Administration’s Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center, as well as user feedback resulting from the use of GRS in the construction of more than 300 bridges.

Revisions include additional details on the design, construction, quality assurance, in-service inspection, maintenance, and repair of the GRS-IBS, along with revised material specifications, site selection criteria, and hydraulic guidance. The manual will benefit owners, designers, and construction personnel interested in implementing this technology.

Cheryl Allen Richter, P.E., Ph.D.
Director, Office of Infrastructure
Research and Development


This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for the use of the information contained in this document.

The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers’ names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document.

Quality Assurance Statement

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides high-quality information to serve Government, industry, and the public in a manner that promotes public understanding. Standards and policies are used to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of its information. FHWA periodically reviews quality issues and adjusts its programs and processes to ensure continuous quality improvement.


Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No.


2. Government Accession No.


3 Recipient's Catalog No.


4. Title and Subtitle

Design and Construction Guidelines for Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil Abutments and Integrated Bridge Systems

5. Report Date

June 2018

6. Performing Organization Code


7. Author(s)

Michael Adams and Jennifer Nicks, Ph.D., P.E.

8. Performing Organization Report No.


9. Performing Organization Name and Address

Office of Infrastructure Research and Development
Federal Highway Administration
6300 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22101-2296

10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)


11. Contract or Grant No.


12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

Federal Highway Administration
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20590

13. Type of Report and Period Covered

Technical Guidance

14. Sponsoring Agency Code


15. Supplementary Notes

This manual supersedes the Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil Integrated Bridge System Interim Implementation Guide.(1)

16. Abstract

This manual outlines the state of the art and recommended practice for designing and constructing geosynthetic reinforced soil (GRS) technology for the application of abutments and the Integrated Bridge System (IBS). It was developed to provide engineers with the necessary background knowledge of GRS technology and its fundamental characteristics as an alternative to other construction methods. This manual presents step-by-step guidance on the design of GRS-IBS using the Load and Resistance Factor Design methodology. Material specifications for standard GRS-IBS are also provided. Detailed construction guidance is presented along with methods for the inspection, performance monitoring, maintenance, and repair of GRS-IBS. Quality assurance and quality control procedures are also covered. The procedures presented are based on 40 years of State and Federal research and deployment efforts focused on GRS technology for bridge support.

17. Key Words

Geosynthetic reinforced soil, GRS, Integrated Bridge System, (IBS), Design, Construction, Performance test

18. Distribution Statement

No restrictions. This document is available to the public through the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA 22161.

19. Security Classification
(of this report)


20. Security Classification
(of this page)


21. No. of Pages


22. Price


Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72) Reproduction of completed page authorized




Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000
Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center | 6300 Georgetown Pike | McLean, VA | 22101