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UDOT uses geofoam blocks to build West Davis Highway ramp

Aug 8, 2023, 12:26 PM | Updated: 12:28 pm

FARMINGTON, Utah — The West Davis Highway is one step closer to completion with the help of blocks.

Driving past the construction may bring up questions as to what the white blocks are and what role they play in the ramp. Rex Harris, Project Director for West Davis Highway, said they are getting the question a lot.

“A lot of people are asking: Are you building ramps out of Styrofoam? And the simple answer is yes,” Harris said.

Blocks stacked on top of blocks are made of polystyrene, what UDOT calls “Geofoam.”

“It’s lightweight. The reason why we’re using it is because earth, concrete, asphalt are really heavy, and this polystyrene is about 100 times lighter than those materials,” Harris said.

While it may not seem that strong, looks are deceiving.

“One square foot of this material, when weight is equal across it, can hold over four tons,” Harris said.

It’s not a new idea. In fact, Harris said they had used geofoam since the ’90s. Regarding timeline, he referred to the days when the Olympics came to town.

“A lot of people don’t know that they’re driving over a lot of fills that have this very material in it when they’re driving over Salt Lake County,” Harris said.

He said from what they are building in Farmington, the white blocks that can be seen will be covered in the next few weeks. From there, over the next three or four months, decks will be built on the structures with the hope that traffic will be running on West Davis Highway by the end of this year, 2023.

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UDOT uses geofoam blocks to build West Davis Highway ramp