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Articulating Concrete Blocks Design, Installation, and Application

By Michelle Brown, Consultant to Pavestone Company with contribution by Richard Bodie, Vice President of Commercial Sales, Pavestone Company






For high vegetative open areas, consider an ACB product that offers a higher percentage of open areas. Principally hand placed units, these products offer expanded unit coverage and omnidirectional flexibility. With this type of product, each individual grid exhibits two interlocking ears and two interlocking sockets shaped as to allow for positive interlocking of all grids within the matrix.


Erosion control is an important element in sustaining the beauty and integrity of your project from the inevitable forces of nature. Through the use of Articulating Concrete Blocks (ACB), you can ensure that your finished project stands up to the erosive elements of nature for years to come.

ACBs provide environmental solutions to nature's erosion and sediment control issues, while maintaining natural aesthetic beauty. From storm channels and ditches, dikes, levees, rivers, streams and bridge embankments, ACBs are an effective way to control erosion damage from wind and water. By providing an environmental solution to nature's erosion and sediment control issues, these products give both protective functions and ecological finishes to your projects.






ACB products may be installed as a preassembled mattress or placed individually by hand. They are used in conjunction with a geotextile fabric underlayment to provide scour protection and to prevent soil loss.


ACB systems feature precast interlocking articulating concrete blocks used in conjunction with a geotextile fabric underlayment. These blocks are available in cabled mattress forms for submerged water placements and non-cabled hand placed systems for dry or dewatered placements. Each system accommodates designers with a project- specific product, granting you the most cost-effective and functional solutions for your needs.

There are several types of precast interlocking ACBs that can add economic, ecological and hydraulic value to your projects. Here are some options you should consider based on the specifications of your job.






For erosion control protection in various hydrological applications ACBs are available in both open- and closed-cell configurations. Both offer the hydraulic stability and/or ecological benefit for critical or environmentally sensitive projects.


For erosion control protection in various hydrological applications ACBs are available in both open- and closed-cell configurations. Both offer the hydraulic stability and/or ecological benefit for critical or environmentally sensitive projects.

These products may be installed as a preassembled mattress or placed individually by hand. They are used in conjunction with a geotextile fabric underlayment to provide scour protection and to prevent soil loss. This type of system gives owners, designers and contractors proven solutions to a wide variety of erosion control issues.

These products consist of a cabled mattress system for submerged water placements and up to 2:1 slope applications. This type of cabled system is very cost-effective and has been proven to be a very dependable erosion control option. The cabled mattress system is essentially a single or double cabled system that does not rely on cables to interlock. The blocks physically interlock in a horizontal direction. However, projects using this type of product have also been hand placed due to site restrictions and then "post cabled." This can also minimize piecework and grouting of non-interlocked seams associated with cabled systems.

For high vegetative open areas, consider an ACB product that offers a higher percentage of open areas. Principally hand placed units, these products offer expanded unit coverage and omnidirectional flexibility. With this type of product, each individual grid exhibits two interlocking ears and two interlocking sockets shaped as to allow for positive interlocking of all grids within the matrix. This slidable interlocking design provides for terrain surface contouring and a almost continuous uninterrupted interlocked field matrix. Unlike other ACB systems, these resemble continuous interlock and co-planar surfaces when encountering most grade contours--even domes, depressions or channel constrictions.






The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Rock Island District were charged with the task and came up with the optimum solution for LovesPark Creek. They chose ACBs that could be vegetated. More than 274,000 square feet of CONLOCK II 6VM-30 block were installed on two separate phases of the project. Contractor crews experienced installation rates up to 75 sq. ft. per man-hour.

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Love Park Creek in Love Park, Ill., is a great real-world example of how ACBs can be used to control erosion and reduce sediment deposits while maintaining the natural beauty of a site.

Loves Park Creek is an open-channel drainage and storm water conveyance system exhibiting discharges that range from a trickle to high velocity deep flows. The channel meanders through industrial and residential areas threatening residential property and municipal playgrounds with its highly-erosive forces. The flows typically carry high sediment loads depositing them along numerous areas throughout the channel. These sediment deposits created a multitude of hydraulic problems and diminished the channel's capability to rapidly convey storm water, thus causing severe flooding. Sediment deposits were normally dealt with by periodically excavating the channel; however, without a hard surface floor to run equipment on, excavation of sediments was often difficult and sometimes infeasible.

In the past, some portions of Loves Park Creek were hard surfaced by use of cast-in-place concrete. Although the concrete proved to be extremely effective in providing a load-bearing surface to support sediment clean out equipment (skidsters and small end loaders), homeowners were not pleased with how it looked. As the concrete aged and freeze-thaw cycle damage became evident, cracking and heaved slabs became more common. Property owners wanted a solution that would not turn their community into a concrete jungle or dumping ground for rubble and rock.






Loves Park Creek is an open-channel drainage and storm water conveyance system exhibiting discharges that range from a trickle to high velocity deep flows. The channel meanders through industrial and residential areas threatening residential property and municipal playgrounds with its highly-erosive forces.


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Rock Island District were charged with the task and came up with the optimum solution. They chose ACBs that could be vegetated. Stringent specifications were written and the bid process proved the HydroPave CONLOCK II system to be the most cost effective. More than 274,000 square feet of CONLOCK II 6VM-30 block were installed on two separate phases of the project. Contractor crews experienced installation rates up to 75 sq. ft. per man-hour. Competitively, the CONLOCK II system saved thousands of dollars over other conventional systems. Love Park Creek truly exemplifies the success of using ACBs to control erosion from the natural elements.

When looking for solutions for erosion and sediment control issues while maintaining the natural beauty of your project site, consider using ACBs. Choosing a quality ACB system for your project can ensure that it stands up to the tests of time--and the elements--for years to come.







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December 14, 2019, 7:42 am PDT

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