High-Rise Embankments

by John Prendergast, Associate Editor; Civil Engineering Magazine, ASCE World Headquarters, 345 East 47th Street, New York City, NY.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1989, Vol. 59, Issue 10, Pg. 52-55

Document Type: Feature article


Embankments reinforced with geosynthetic materials are being built at increasing heights. Any wall over 20 ft is still generally considered high, but embankments of 40 ft with near vertical slopes have been built. At lesser slopes, of 50% or so, heights have reached past 100 ft. The article discusses the question of height limitation—which, most experts agree, is far from being reached, if it exists at all—and the main remaining question regarding the performance of geotextiles and geogrids, their durability. Three case studies are offered of projects that are among the highest, steepest geosynthetic reinforced structures built. The first and second are a 40 ft high embankment with a near vertical slope supporting a roadway above a lake in Orlando, Fla., and a series of temporary geotextile reinforced walls retaining a preload fill for an I-90 overpass in Seattle, Wash., the highest of which is also 40 ft, respectively. The last is a 115 ft high, 1,500 ft long geogrid reinforced buttress at a subdivision in the hills near San Diego, Calif.

Subject Headings: Geosynthetics | Geogrids | Case studies | Structure reinforcement | Retaining structures | Walls | Embankment (transportation) | Slope stability | United States | Orlando | Florida | Seattle | Washington | California

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