Case Study: Valley National Bank

The Sleeve-It pre-engineered fence post foundation system integrated with the Stratagrid reinforced Allan Block wall at Valley National Bank site.State Highway Route 9 is one of New Jersey’s most heavily traveled commercial thoroughfares. When Wayne, N.J.-based Valley National Bank evaluated locations for its new Manalapan Township branch, it chose the busy intersection at Route 9 and Tennant Road because of the tremendous exposure the site afforded.

The opportunity to visually impress passing motorists didn’t escape Juan Urro, owner of LandTek Consulting. His firm’s multi-wall design, incorporating a 12-foot high retaining wall with a 12-foot, 90-degree radius not only beautified the property, but also made construction possible on an otherwise unsuitable lot. LandTek’s specs for the structure included a custom-colored block to blend with the bank’s exterior.

“Knowing that the landscape walls were going to be highly visible from the highway we wanted to utilize the right product in terms of color and texture,” Urro said.

The Allan Block Retaining Wall System specified for the project is a segmental retaining wall that has been successfully used to build retaining walls exceeding 50-feet in height. Because of the flexible nature and low cost of segmental retaining walls, developers are choosing commercial property differently than they did 25 years ago. Dramatic grade changes that once made property unsuitable for construction now can be overcome within budget. In cases such as Manalapan’s Valley National Bank, the segmental retaining wall is not only functional; it also becomes an architectural focal point of the property.

Local building codes called for 4-foot high security fencing to be installed at the top elevation of the geogrid-reinforced wall. A storm water structure behind the wall, plus the challenge of maintaining minimum setbacks on the bottom grade and maximum batter angles along the top (to maintain minimum drive-thru aisle widths) only added to the constraints facing LandTek. The batter angles meant the fence had to be built right behind the top blocks in the wall.

Facing a narrow construction window, Mark Tompkins of Total Grounds, Inc. knew he didn’t have much margin for error. Selecting Clayton Block of Edison, N.J. proved to be pivotal. The company manufactured a custom color, 6-degree, AB Classic, Allan Block specifically to meet the demands of this high visibility project with tight setbacks. Clayton Block is also a distributor for Strata Systems’ products including Stratagrid geogrids, StrataTex geotextiles, and Sleeve-It pre-engineered fence post integration system. Serving as contractor, Total Grounds, Colts Neck, N.J., completed the project team.

Top to bottom: Don Clayton (Clayton Block), Mark Lanfrank (LandTek Project Engineer) and Juan Urro (LandTek Consulting) beneath completed Valley National Bank wall with pre-engineered Sleeve-It fence post integration system.Tompkins knew that Strata’s SG 200 polyester geogrid combines strength and flexibility, allowing for the overlap needed to adequately reinforce the soil behind the bank’s curved wall.

Tompkins believes that Sleeve-It is revolutionizing on-site integration between fence subcontractors and wall installers. “Sleeve-It is good for both parties. Since it’s a pre-engineered system and installed by the wall builder, you’re not affecting the integrity of the wall during fencing installation,” he said.

The project progressed smoothly with key contractor, engineering, manufacturer and distribution components working together in close harmony. Often questions were answered and problems solved with just a phone call.

“People always ask me, ‘Why should I use your products for my project?’ and my response is always the same – It’s the team of professionals, like Clayton Block, Strata Systems, Allan Block, Total Grounds and LandTek Consulting that makes our total package the best in our market,” Don Clayton of Clayton Block added.

The experienced team completed the three-phase Valley National Bank project in just three weeks, including installation of Stratagrid soil reinforcement, the Allan Block walls and the Sleeve-It product. The custom color AB Classic retaining wall fronting the Manalapan exit off Route 9 achieves the aesthetic goals Juan Urro aspired to in his innovative design. So much so that the new Manalapan branch of Valley National Bank stands out as a distinctive and pleasing landmark along the busy road.

“With the new color scheme we didn’t know what it was going to look like once it was built,” remarked Urro. “But we are now very pleased with the results and the way the wall looks.”

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