UDOT to use geofoam in freeway construction

Aug 8, 2023, 9:30 AM | Updated: 9:34 am

West Davis Highway could be completed before the new year....

Geofoam bricks are pictured on I-15. UDOT said it is using them to build a ramp connecting I-15 SB to West Davis Highway. The Highway is now set to finish before the end of the year (Utah Department of Transportation)

(Utah Department of Transportation)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Transportation said it is using geofoam blocks to build a freeway ramp in a press release Tuesday morning. 

Geofoam is similar to Styrofoam, the material used in packaging materials and coolers, said UDOT. The blocks will allow crews to build the new freeway ramp near I-15 and the Union Pacific Railroad without causing additional shifting or settlement. 

If UDOT were to use dirt, the weight would cause the ground underneath to settle. Land settling, anywhere from a few inches to a few feet, is normal in construction. Some engineers accommodate this in their designs, but UDOT said that isn’t possible this time. Settling could negatively affect the existing freeway and rail lines nearby. 

According to UDOT’s press release, the ramp will be comprised of approximately 3,000 geofoam blocks. Each block weighs about 200 pounds. After being transported to the site, the blocks can be placed on the project in their original shape, or cut to fit where needed. 

After the blocks are in place, a concrete slab will be poured over the top to evenly distribute the weight load across the ramp. Pavement and concrete walls will then be installed. 

The ramp will connect West Davis Highway to I-15 southbound in Farmington. 


The material was first used in road construction in Oslo, Norway in 1972.  According to the Geofoam Research Center at Syracuse University (GRC), geofoam can be recovered from previous construction sites and reused. 

After more than 20 years, geofoam was exhumed from a project and proved to be in good condition. The blocks exhumed were reused in another project. 

Geofoam can also be shredded and formed into new blocks or sheets at the end of its life. According to the GRC, the process of recycling it does not involve chemical processing. 

The GRC also said that geofoam is not biodegradable, but when it is installed underground, it does not have adverse impacts on soil or groundwater. 

The use of geofoam has shown reduced environmental impacts. Geofoam, unlike soil, does not need to be compacted, shortening project timelines. Shorter project timelines mean less pollution from traffic slowdowns and construction vehicle activity. 

UDOT projects

UDOT said it is one of a few state transportation departments in the U.S. that has extensive experience using geofoam. The press release said geofoam was also used in the reconstruction of I-15 before the 2002 Olympic Games, the 1100 South Bridge in Brigham City, and the bridge on 5600 west near 700 south in Salt Lake City. 

The UDOT Traffic website and UDOT Traffic app provide the latest information on traffic restrictions during construction. 

Related reading: 


We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.


a big bear...

Tim Hughes

Fat Bear Week is here, learn how to participate and get some other wildlife viewing in too

Fat Bear Week kicked off on Monday and gives people the chance to view wildlife from the comfort of their own home.

20 hours ago

People pour water into lake....

Sydnee Gonzalez, KSL.com

A pouring out of love: Utahns gather for Great Salt Lake blessing ceremony

People gathered at the Great Salt Lake this weekend with offerings that represented an outward expression of a love and stewardship of the lake.

23 hours ago

A puddle left by the rain reflects someone walking in downtown - SALT LAKE CITY -- Now might be a g...

Adam Small

Fall weather is here: rain, mountain snow to start the week

KSL meteorologists forecasted highs only in the mid-50s both Monday and Tuesday before temperatures see a gradual incline later in the week.

1 day ago

FILE - Localscaping is the use of native plants and grasses to landscape. (KSL NewsRadio)...

Don Brinkerhoff

Utah Water Savers offers incentives for water-wise landscaping

Utah Water Savers offers help and incentives to design water-wise landscaping with native plants and grasses.

1 day ago

A section of road in Fielding, Utah collapsed due to a bust in the waterline....

Derrick Jones

A section of road swept away by waterline burst in Fielding, Utah

A section of the road on 15600N in Fielding, Utah over the Malad River has collapsed due to a waterline bursting.

3 days ago

Traffic travels along I-80 in Salt Lake City's Parleys Canyon....

Dan Bammes

Wind prevents Friday prescribed burn in Salt Lake canyons

The burn piles are ready to go, however, and the prescribed burn may begin on Saturday if conditions are right.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Human hand holding a protest banner stop vaping message over a crowded street background....

Prosperous Utah Communities

Utah’s Battle to Protect Youth from Vaping Epidemic Faces New Threat as Proposed Rule Threatens Progress

Utah's strict standards of nicotine levels in vaping products are at risk, increasing health hazards associated with use. Read more about how you can advocate for a better future for Utah's youth.

Aerial photo of Bear Lake shoreline with canopies and people camped out on the beach...

Visit Bear Lake

Last-Minute Summer Vacation Planning? Check Out Bear Lake!

Bear Lake is the perfect getaway if you are last-minute summer vacation planning. Enjoy activities with your whole family at this iconic lake.

close up of rose marvel saliva blooms in purple...

Shannon Cavalero

Drought Tolerant Perennials for Utah

The best drought tolerant plants for Utah can handle high elevations, alkaline soils, excessive exposure to wind, and use of secondary water.

UDOT to use geofoam in freeway construction