Nature Sides with the Hidden Flaw: Lessons Learned from Failures of Earth-Support Systems

by James W. Niehoff, P.E., (M.ASCE), Senior Geotechnical Consultant; Denver, CO, jniehoff@geiconsultants.com,


Serial Information: Geo-Strata —Geo Institute of ASCE, 2016, Vol. 20, Issue 2, Pg. 38-43


Document Type: Feature article

Abstract: In recent years, the demand for excavations and fills of significant height has increased due to many factors, including requirements for below-grade parking for urban buildings and the need to construct on sites with difficult terrain and topography. Fortunately, substantial advances in engineering techniques and systems are now available for the support of cuts and fills, including mechanically stabilized earth (MSE), soil nailing, contiguous pile walls, diaphragm walls, deep soil mixing, and soil freezing, among others. But despite our increasing knowledge and understanding of soil-support systems, failures still occur with some regularity.

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