how to bench through a geotextile- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    how to bench through a geotextile

    I'm faced with a short traverse across an open slope that was laid with a sort of geotextile maybe 20+ years ago. It's a green material made up of many fine strands, not dense enough to be a fabric per se, but rather sparse enough that it is now strongly knitted into the soil. So, I can literally chop a line through it with my trusty Estwing to get my shovel in, but then it is so firmly embedded in the dirt that I literally can't overturn a shovel full. I'd have to shred it in two dimensions to make any progress with the shovel. Astonishingly resilient in other words. In another area I had rolled wire fencing laid down maybe 40+ years ago, comparatively easy to snip through, bend, roll back or otherwise displace, but this green plasticy stuff has got me stumped. Any one else ever deal with this type of thing?

  2. #2
    Dirt Monkey
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    Never run into the stuff while digging. How steep is the slope? Any risk of destabilizing the hillside by putting a trail through it? An engineer at some point thought is was unstable enough to reinforce it.

    A sharp rogue hoe will probably cut through the stuff pretty easily given the dirt isn't rocky enough to quickly dull the edge.

  3. #3
    WillWorkForTrail
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    Quote Originally Posted by aero901 View Post
    A sharp rogue hoe will probably cut through the stuff pretty easily given the dirt isn't rocky enough to quickly dull the edge.
    This is really the answer to the question - a sharp hoe. The real question is, why is the slope open in this small point? It's likely that it isn't so much unstable as something was buried there and part of the project included ensuring the soil they put back over it stays put. Be certain what is underground there. I've been given the go-ahead to build over force mains, sewer lines, fiber lines, gas lines etc by land managers who didn't know how deep whatever was there was buried. Fortunately, I've not yet hit any of these things, but to make a point:

    At one point I was dealing with a fiber optic line that was less than 3" deep because it was an emergency re-run of a line that had been broken when a nearby tree uprooted. I avoided that by digging a hole well away from the line, and building a large roller over it rather than bench cutting into it with a machine. In another instance, a guy I know was nearly arrested for driving a mini-ex over an underground gas pipeline. He wasn't hurting anything but a gas line rep showed up and flipped out because the required forms hadn't been filled out by the land manager. What I'm trying to say is, just make sure your bases are covered, because stable enough to dig in or not, there's a reason that area was dug up.

  4. #4
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    OK well I see this could be my ticket to go get one of those rogue hoe's I hear so much about. Never tried one before. The scenario is a ravine hillside in urban area. In many areas, there was infill to enlarge the useable real estate up top, and the steepened slopes were stabilized by whatever means that were common from the 50's through the 70's. So, it's steep, but the textile has done its job and today things are now naturally stable with tallgrass and shrubs. And of course, I'm traversing it not building down the fall line haha.

  5. #5
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    I'd vote for the rogue hoe. They are amazingly versatile and robust tools.

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