Retaining Walls: Competition or Anarchy?

by Kneeland A. Godfrey, Jr., Sr. Ed.; Civil Engineering Magazine, ASCE World Headquarters, 345 East 47th Street, New York City, NY.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1984, Vol. 54, Issue 12, Pg. 48-52

Document Type: Feature article


Until the last 10 years, when a retaining wall was needed a cast-in-place concrete gravity or cantilever wall was used. Then along came Reinforced Earth, and this proprietary system began capturing a fast-frowing share of the market; today Georgia DOT does not even design the traditional wall because it is never lowest in cost. Because a good share of walls are built along federal-aid highways, the FHWA has been trying to encourage competition among wall systems in order to reduce costs. Today more than a dozen systems (described in the article) compete for this market. In the case of mechanically stabilized earth (the generic name for the class pioneered by Reinforced Earth), there is concern that not enough research and testing has been done for some systems, so FHWA has funded research intended to answer questions and provide generic design guidelines.

Subject Headings: Retaining structures | Soil stabilization | Business management | Walls | Cast in place | Developing countries | Freight transportation | Federal government | Georgia | United States

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