In the News

In 2009 Puget Sound Precast was awarded the Redi-Rock Residential Wall of the Year for a riverfront retaining wall that not only allowed the home owners better access to the beach, but also more usable land space above.  In 2011 Puget Sound Precast received Redi-Rock's Water Application of the Year award for the City of Lacey's Carpenter Road Project, a massive 25,000 square foot retaining wall, or about 8,900,000 lbs. of retaining wall block.
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In the News
Puget Sound Precast
2009 Redi-Rock Residential Wall of the Year
2011 Redi-Rock Water Application of the Year
2009 Redi-Rock Residential Wall of the Year
Project Name:
Rockford Residence #98

Customer Name:
The Rockfords

Block Manufacturer:
Puget Sound Precast

Wall Installer:
Lemmie Rockford

Project Location:
Cathlamet, Washington

Year Built:

Project Scope

When Lemmie and Wanda Rockford were preparing to retire in 2001, they purchased some property and a house on the Columbia River near Cathlamet, Washington. The property slopes steeply down to the river, providing stunning views but little usable yard space. The steep bank was difficult to maintain as it was covered in blackberry brambles and weeds.

After several years in their new home, the couple wanted to free up some space for a yard as well as prevent their bank from eroding.

"We looked at several things to do. One option was to tear it up and do ground cover," Lemmie said.

The Rockfords wanted to create a flat level area they could use to plant a garden and some fruit trees, and building a retaining wall seemed like the best way to achieve that end.

While driving near their home, the couple spotted some large concrete retaining wall blocks called Redi-Rock in a landscaping yard and stopped to check them out. They discovered that the one-ton, cobblestone texture blocks were known for their ability to build taller gravity walls than other retaining wall products on the market. Lemmie was also impressed with the ease of installation of the product—it was so simple, in fact, that the former pipeline construction company owner decided to install the Redi-Rock himself with the help of a small crew.

To prepare the site for wall construction, Lemmie poured a footing for the first course of blocks to be placed along the beach. For the footings in the other tiers of the wall, Lemmie designed a 2-3 ft. deep leveling pad of crushed rock from a local quarry that he compacted to make a suitable leveling pad.

"The contour of the ground dictated what we could do," Lemmie said, referring to the design of the walls. Since he has designed and built the walls himself, Lemmie has been taking his time with the project he started in 2007.

Lemmie used Redi-Rock 60" base blocks in the first tier, and 41" retaining blocks in the center of the wall. He finished the wall with 28" top blocks at the top of each tier. He and his crew backfilled behind each of the walls with 6-8 ft. of crushed rock to allow for adequate drainage. The walls are built in four tiers with approximately 10 ft. between each tier. A staircase cuts through the walls and provides beach access."

We love the way things are turning our here. We're still in the process though," said Wanda Rockford.

"I feel really confident with the Redi-Rock; I've been in construction my whole life. We had a really wet winter this year and nothing moved at all. I'm confident the walls are here to stay," Lemmie said.

While working with the Redi-Rock retaining walls, Lemmie came up with an idea to add a creative touch to his landscaping. The Redi-Rock archway he designed is the first of its kind.

"I just wanted something a little different so I sat down and sketched out what I wanted. I took it to the Redi-Rock manufacturer and he said we could do it," Lemmie explained.

The design Lemmie came up with involves Redi-Rock 28 inch column caps which Puget Sound Precast of Tacoma, WA manufactured custom for the project. The concrete form was adjusted so that one side of each column cap was poured at the standard 6 inches, while the opposite side was poured to be 3 inches tall. This allowed the blocks to form an archway without the need to cut the blocks. The blocks were grouted together to form the archway.

"We're just tickled to death with it," Lemmie said.

The Rockfords plan to finish the walls in the summer of 2009 and start the landscaping by the fall of 2009. They have also built several other Redi-Rock walls around the property, including a four foot tall freestanding wall that faces the front of a building and another retaining wall near their workshop.

Engineer: E3RA, Inc.; WHPacific; City of Lacey Department of Public Works;
Block Manufacturer: Puget Sound Precast
Wall Installer: Active Construction, Inc.
Project Location: Lacey, WA
Year Built: 2011
When the City of Lacey, WA set out to rebuild a 6,000 ft. section of Carpenter Road, the main goal was to convert a 2-lane arterial to a 4-5 lane arterial, plus adding a bike lane and sidewalks on both sides.
Sounds simple, right? Not so much, explains Lacey City Project Engineer Roger Schoessel, P.E. “The challenge was that the road went through a built-out commercial and residential area so we were really really right on right-of-way acquisition,” he said. “We could only go so far before we were buying houses and businesses, so retaining walls and structural walls both became a huge component of the project to minimize the right of way requirements.”
Another challenge was that 300-400 ft. of the roadway also crossed a lake, which also required minimizing the road’s footprint as much as possible to make the environmental permitting process simpler.
To top it all off, the City also had to pack multiple utilities through the same corridor, including a brand new sewer line, a water transmission main, and a reclaimed water transmission main. “Through the analysis, particularly where we crossed Lake Lois, we determined that we were looking for a retaining wall system that did not require tie backs or any type of geotensile membrane.”
Initially, the City looked at cast in place walls, but the cost forced them to consider other options.
“When we started doing the structural screen for different modular wall systems, the Redi-Rock system was the one we screened down to because it could meet the structural requirements in that it didn’t require tiebacks in the application we were looking at,” Schoessel explained.
The massive size of each one-ton Redi-Rock harnesses the power of gravity, making it possible to build tall gravity walls without reinforcement. This factor allowed the City to build retaining walls in tight spaces to avoid right of way issues.
“The wall system also met the seismic code,” Schoessel explained. In addition, “The cost was a big factor. Redi-Rock was a very reasonably priced wall when we started comparing it to other types of wall systems.”
Aesthetics also played a role in the decision. Because the project design called for 25,000 sq. face feet of retaining walls, the walls needed to look good. The City chose Redi-Rock’s Cobblestone texture, and visited local Redi-Rock manufacturer Puget Sound Precast to pick out the color and also choose an anti-graffiti coating (which was applied after installation was completed).
Where the road crossed Lake Lois, engineers designed Redi-Rock headwalls to flank a corrugated culvert to allow water to flow between the two sections of Lake Lois. The culvert was finished using Rock’s arch culvert blocks which allowed the city to create an aesthetic culvert that provided ample flow.
A majority of the retaining walls on the project stood 6 to 12 ft. high gravity walls, and the tallest wall stood 15 ft. tall. Many were topped with freestanding blocks and cap block which acted as railings for the sidewalks. To provide extra structural support for the “railings,” the walls were designed using a Redi-Rock Planter block as the top block. This block was secured with rebar and filled with concrete before attaching the cap block. Due to the freestanding wall’s distance from the roadway (~8 ft), it did not need to be a true force protection wall.
In addition to the Arch Culvert headwalls, other impressive walls on the project include Wall #1, which stretches 415 lineal ft. The retaining portion of the wall stands 9 ft. high with 5 ft. of Freestanding wall on top. Wall #2 stretched 275 lineal ft. and also stands 9 ft. high with 5 ft. of Freestanding wall on top. The longest wall was a terraced wall with two levels which stretched 600 lineal ft. The lower terrace stood 12 ft. tall, and the upper terrace also stood 12 ft. tall with the uppermost 4.5 ft. consisting of Freestanding walls.
To put this all in perspective, the total project required over 5300 Redi-Rock blocks—which equals roughly 25,000 sq. face ft. of Redi-Rock. 8,900,000 lbs. of Redi-Rock blocks were delivered in 175 loads to the site between June of 2011 and January of 2012.
To keep up with the project’s schedule, local Redi-Rock manufacturer and retailer Puget Sound Precast had to pour blocks 3-4 times per day.
Schoessel explained: “The walls assembled very quickly; it was an easy build. Once the contractor got started on it, as soon as he could get the rough grading done he would start installing.”
Redi-Rock walls install like giant Lego blocks using an excavator and small crew.
Construction of the project was funded by grants from the Transportation Improvement Board and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in addition to funds from Thurston County and the City of Lacey.
The final wall was installed in January of 2012, and the entire project’s scheduled completion date is April 2012.
“It’s a lot of wall,” Schoessel said, “When people first come on the project, the first thing they say is, ‘these are really impressive walls!’ Aesthetically, it’s a really good-looking  wall. It really serves a very useful purpose for what it does.”

2011 Redi-Rock Water Application of the Year