Highway Retaining Walls are Assets: A Risk-Based Approach for Managing Them

by Mo Gabr, P.E., Ph.D., (F.ASCE), Alumni Distinguished Professor of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering; Raleigh, NC, gabr@ncsu.edu,
Cedrick Butler, Project Engineer; Raleigh, NC, cjbutler@ncsu.edu,
William Rasdorf, P.E., Ph.D., (F.ASCE), Professor of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering; Raleigh, NC, rasdorf@ncsu.edu,
Daniel J. Findley, P.E., Ph.D., Senior Research Associate; Raleigh, NC, Daniel_Findley@ncsu.edu,
Steven A. Bert, Research Assistant; Raleigh, NC, sabert@ncsu.edu,

Serial Information: Geo-Strata —Geo Institute of ASCE, 2016, Vol. 20, Issue 2, Pg. 66-72

Document Type: Feature article

Abstract: Throughout history, retaining walls (RWs) have served a vital role in supporting civil infrastructure. The ruins of dry stone walls that purportedly supported the hills and slopes of ancient Rome can be seen today in the underground corridors of the Colosseum, and within the ruins of the Forum and Circus Maximus. Within our National Highway System, retaining walls are an integral part of bridge abutments, grade separations, and highway embankments, and in many situations are used to support and protect transportation assets such as roads, rivers, and railways. Compared to pavements and bridges, retaining walls require less maintenance. However, and perhaps due to such success, records of wall construction, design, and performance are minimal.

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