A Perspective on Mechanically Stabilized Earth Walls: Pushing the Limits or Pulling us Down?

Additional Info

  • Practice Areas: Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
  • Event or Publication: A Perspective on Mechanically Stabilized Earth Walls: Pushing the Limits or Pulling us Down?
  • Title: A Perspective on Mechanically Stabilized Earth Walls: Pushing the Limits or Pulling us Down?
  • Geosyntec Authors: Robert Bachus, Leslie Griffin
  • Citation: Bachus, R. and L. Griffin, A Perspective on Mechanically Stabilized Earth Walls: Pushing the Limits or Pulling us Down?, Proceedings of Earth Retention Conference 3, Bellevue, Washington, August 1-4, 2010.
  • Date: 2010
  • Location: Bellevue, Washington
  • Type: Presentation

Many will argue that fill walls, particularly mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) walls, represent a boom to the U.S. geotechnical practice and are a testament to the valuable and innovative contributions by geotechnical practitioners.

Many examples can be cited to demonstrate the profession's ability to push the limits in terms of wall height and creative applications. These success stories notwithstanding, there have been several reported MSE wall failures that should give the profession pause for concern. There are indications today that the profession's lack of attention and focus has started to reverse the impressive trends of innovative practice. These failures should remind us that we have to remain ever mindful of the basic tennants of good geotechnical engineering practice and that we cannot afford to lose sight of important geotechnical considerations and perspective regarding the design and construction of MSE walls and slopes. Unfortunately, the lessons that have been identified by others from past failures have apparently fallen on deaf ears....because we continue to experience failures. This paper strives to once again highlight important lessons regarding the design and construction of MSE walls from both big and small projects. Most importantly, the authors offer specific recommendations to halt this disturbing trend before it has potentially severe consequences. Read More: http://ascelibrary.org/doi/abs/10.1061/41128(384)44

Geosyntec Consultants
Geosyntec is a consulting and engineering firm that works with private and public sector clients to address new ventures and complex problems involving our environment, natural resources, and civil infrastructure.

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