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Innovative reinforced soil solutions supporting new river crossing

Project information

Project name

Kirkstall Forge


Leeds, UK


Commercial Estates Group


WYG Ltd.


I&H Brown

Construction time

October 2014 to August 2015

Project details

Project description and challenge

Kirkstall Forge, one of Britain’s longest continually used industrial sites, is being redeveloped as part of a £400M development of 1,050 homes, commercial offices as well as retail and leisure facilities. It will be served by a new railway station linking it in minutes with Leeds city centre. In order to connect the development with the train station a new road bridge was required linking the A65 Abbey Road running along the site’s Northern boundary and the new station to the South.

The development sits in the valley of the River Aire, hence ground level had to be raised between the ‘Stitch Bridge’ and the main road to create a suitable road gradient. Additionally, the underside of the bridge deck had to be above the 1 in 100 year flood level, which meant raising the height of the northern river bank and reinforcing the southern one, to accommodate the 30m long, 18m wide span.


Reinforced soil walls were chosen to support the new crossing, after a sheet pile solution was rejected at the design stage as it was considered to be too time-consuming and expensive to install. The embankments on both sides of the river were constructed with HUESKER Fortrac® T uniaxial high tenacity polyester geogrids, in combination with Allan Block segmental blocks and HUESKER’s Fortrac GRS Natur system.

This project was the first to utilise a new positive connection system, for connecting geogrid to block. The reinforced concrete bank seats, for the new stitch bridge, are supported on reinforced soil structures to the North and South of the river.


Providing reinforced soil bridge foundations with 120-year design life

Ability of the reinforced soil design to incorporate cantilevered walkway

More economical and faster than a traditional sheet pile solution

Sustainability through the use of site-won materials and Fortrac geogrids