Cellular Sheet-Pile Floodwall

by Robert E. Taylor, (M.ASCE), Struct. Engr.; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Huntington, WV,
David F. Meadows, Geotechnical Engr.; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Huntington, WV,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1991, Vol. 61, Issue 1, Pg. 58-60

Document Type: Feature article


Williamson, W. Va., flooded 37 times in this century, will soon be guarded by a $41 million, 4000 ft floodwall being built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. A series of 41 circular sheet-pile cells and a length of conventional concrete wall form a U-shape around Williamson, beginning and ending at the mountains that rise up behind the town. The wall is almost complete and is scheduled to be finished in 1992, a year ahead of the original schedule. Design challenges included unstable riverbanks and intensive land use along the valley. The chosen solution will have a relatively long life and is easy to maintain. Two pump stations move water to the Tug Fork River from Williamson's storm sewers and a creek that runs through the town. Five quick-closing gates complete the barrier where roads and a railroad interrupt it. The design of the cell wall was complicated by the soft in-situ clayey material, the unstable bank, and the cell's unusual dual purpose as riverbank retaining wall during normal conditions and floodwall when the river rises. Replacing the cohesive material with granular material, as is standard practice for this type of structure, would be expensive and cause temporary stability problems. The partial replacement of the cohesive material meant that we had to modify classic design methods that generally consider only granular cell fill. To check our results we contracted to have a finite element analysis performed, followed by test-driving of two cellular structures.

Subject Headings: Granular materials | Piles | Floods | Walls | Scheduling | Hydraulic design | Pumping stations | Rivers and streams

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