Ohio River Bulkhead Repair in Kentucky


A port authority along the Ohio River in Kentucky noticed sinking soils along a sheet pile bulkhead wall. Loads of gravel were used to fill the opening hole back to grade only to have the hole return a month later. After attempting this several times, the customer began looking for other alternatives. After having the wall inspected by a diver, three gaps in the sheet pile wall were identified as likely causes of the bulkhead failure. The owner put out an RFP and URETEK was awarded the repair project.


URETEK consulted with the customer, inspected the bulkhead, and reviewed the diver’s report. According to the underwater inspection, three holes were discovered. The most serious hole was eight inches square, located 12 feet below the summer pool level. All three holes were allowing soil migration out of the fill above. As water movement washed away fine soils, persistent dropouts kept forming behind the bulkhead at the surface. URETEK determined that URETEK Deep Injection® (UDI) would provide an ideal solution for the ongoing soil failure issues behind the riverside bulkhead.


Summer pool is the only time when visibility and manageable currents align for underwater diving operations. So, after a dry week during mid-summer, crews mobilized to the site. With the assistance of a diver, injections were driven into the sheet pile wall holes. The diver monitored the injections visually until the area was sealed. At the same time, holes were drilled from the surface above around the sinkhole area. UDI was performed into these sunken areas to stabilize the soils and protect against future erosion.


URETEK and its UDI process sealed the holes in the sheet pile bulkhead and stopped soil loss to the Ohio River. Loose soils above were stabilized with UDI to stop future settlement. The project was completed ahead of schedule and on budget, to the customer’s satisfaction.

URETEK Deep Injection® (UDI)

Widely referenced throughout our industry, UDI involves the injection of structural polymer into base and subgrade soils to increase the load bearing capacity. This is achieved by injecting the polymer through small holes drilled directly through the pavement structure to depths determined by site-specific analysis. Our URETEK 486 Star® material flows easily into voids and weak zones within the soil mass below. Through a controlled chemical reaction, the expanding polymer compacts surrounding soils and applies a controlled pressure on targeted areas of the affected pavement above. If needed, a multi-injection design plan is utilized to gently return the pavement to its original grade. The composite material quickly cures into a strong, dimensionally stable, and water-resistant geo-material, providing years of reliable service.

URETEK 486 Star®

URETEK 486 Star® polymer is a two-component, high-density, expanding thermoset polyurethane system. It was developed to be the ideal solution for under-sealing, void filling, lifting of settled pavement, stabilization and stiffening of weak soils, and for encapsulating and sealing buried infrastructure. URETEK 486 Star® is environmentally inert, non-toxic, and resists underground water erosion or weakening due to its industry-leading hydrophobic properties.

Aerial shot of URETEK techinicans on barge


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