This presentation was prepared to provide a small overview of the wide range of application possibilities of Mechanically Stabilzed Earth (MSE) walls under extreme challenging conditions.
The presentation was divided into 2 sections. The first part of the presentation focuses on the application of MSE walls as earth pressure relief on rigid structures. The second part of the presentation reports on the construction of a road on a creepy slope in alpine terrain in Austria.
Section 1 – Earth pressure relief
Earth pressure on walls or concrete retaining structures can reach significantly high values
for high structures. The reduction of earth pressure results in a reduced stress on these structures. The concept is to reduce the earth pressure by means of a wrap back geotextile stabilized earth structures. By means of these walls the earth pressure can be reduced to zero, leaving a gap in between the structure and the MSE wall. Two case studies are presented, where wrap back walls have been used behind walls to reduce the earth pressure. For this application the deformation behaviour of the MSE wall is very important. Some examples are given, showing the huge capacity of MSE wall in load bearing combined with small deformation. Deformation measurements of laboratory tests as well as on executed projects are shown. The presentation also addresses the cost benefit of an earth pressure elimination on a virtual example.
Section 2 – Road construction in extreme challenging conditions
A large-scale construction project was implemented between June 2006 and September 2008 to reroute the B114 mountainside link road between Trieben and Sunk in Austria. In addition to comprehensive drainage and anchorage measures, the works included the extensive use of extra-steep, geosynthetic-reinforced slope structures to build the route and stabilize critical slip-prone slopes. The presented project testifies to the high technical, economic and ecological efficiency of geosynthetic-reinforced constructions. The ductile material behaviour of the geosynthetic reinforcement, which is tailored to local conditions, combined with a flexible outer skin makes this type of construction the ideal solution, even on creep-prone slopes. Not only does GRS offer favourable mechanical properties, the resulting structures can also be designed to blend harmoniously with the landscape setting. The presented project is a prime illustration of the effective combination of different stabilization methods, such as GRS, anchorages, soil nailing and drainage, in difficult terrain.