Because of the wide variety of topics covered on this page, it has been divided into several categories:

General Topics of Interest for Retaining Walls

Backfill for Subsurface Structures

UFC 3-220-04FA
16 January 2004

U.S. Army TM 5-818-4, June 1983 (also available)

This manual is for the guidance of designers, specification writers, and especially field personnel engaged in designing, planning, and conducting earthwork operations around major deep-seated or subsurface structures.

The greatest deficiencies in earthwork operations around deep-seated or subsurface structures occur because of improper backfilling procedures and inadequate construction control during this phase of the work. Therefore, primary emphasis in this manual is on backfilling procedures. Design and planning considerations, evaluation and selection of materials, and other phases of earthwork construction are discussed where pertinent to successful backfill operations.

Although the information in this manual is primarily applicable to backfilling around large and important deep-seated or buried structures, it is also applicable in varying degrees to backfilling operations around all structures, including conduits.

Geosynthetic Design and Construction Guidelines

Robert D. Holtz, Ph.D., P.E., Barry R. Christopher, Ph.D., P.E., and Ryan R. Berg, P.E.
FHWA HI-95-038
April 1998

This manual is an updated version of the Geotextile Design & Construction Guidelines, used for the FHWA training course Geosynthetic Engineering Workshop. The update was performed to reflect current practices and codes for geotextile design, and has been expanded to address geogrid and geomembrane materials. The manual was prepared to enable the Highway Engineer to correctly identify and evaluate potential applications of geosynthetics as an alternative to other construction methods and as a means to solve construction problems. With the aid of this text, the Highway Engineer should be able to properly design, select, test, specify, and construct with geotextiles, geocomposite drains, geogrids and related materials in drainage, sediment control, erosion control, roadway, and embankment on soft soils applications. Steepened slope and retaining wall applications also are addressed, but designers are referred to the FHWA Demonstration Project No. 82 references on mechanically stabilized earth structures for details on design. Application of geomembranes and other barrier materials to highway works are summarized within. This manual is directed toward geotechnical, hydraulic, roadway, bridge and structures, and route layout highway engineers.

Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil Integrated Bridge System, Interim Implementation Guide

Michael Adams, Jennifer Nicks, Tom Stabile, Jonathan Wu, Warren Schlatter, and Joseph Hartmann

June 2012

This manual outlines the state-of-the-art and recommended practice for designing and constructing Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil (GRS) technology for the application of the Integrated Bridge System (IBS). The procedures presented in this manual are based on 40 years of State and Federal research focused on GRS technology as applied to abutments and walls. This manual was developed to serve as the first in a two-part series aimed at providing engineers with the necessary background knowledge of GRS technology and its fundamental characteristics as an alternative to other construction methods. The manual presents step-by-step guidance on the design of GRS-IBS. Analytical and empirical design methodologies in both the Allowable Stress Design (ASD) and Load and Resistance Factor Design (LRFD) formats are provided. Material specifications for standard GRS-IBS are also provided. Detailed construction guidance is presented along with methods for the inspection, performance monitoring, maintenance, and repair of GRS-IBS. Quality assurance and quality control procedures are also covered in this manual.

Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil Integrated Bridge System, Synthesis Report

Michael Adams, Jennifer Nicks, Tom Stabile, Jonathan Wu, Warren Schlatter, and Joseph Hartmann

January 2011

This report is the second in a two-part series to provide engineers with the necessary background knowledge of Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil (GRS) technology and its fundamental characteristics as an alternative to other construction methods. It supplements the interim implementation manual (FHWA-HRT-11-026), which outlines the design and construction of the GRS Integrated Bridge System (IBS). The research behind the proposed design method is presented along with case histories to show the performance of in-service GRS-IBS and GRS walls.

Rockery Design And Construction Guidelines

Darren A. Mack, P.E., Steven H. Sanders, P.E., William L. Millhone, P.E., Renée L. Fippin, P.E., and Drew G. Kennedy, P.G.

November 2006

Rockeries consist of earth retaining and/or protection structures comprised of interlocking, dry-stacked rocks without mortar or steel reinforcement. They have been used for thousands of years and rely on the weight, size, and shape of individual rocks to provide overall stability. Some of the earliest rockeries constructed by the Federal Government date back to 1918. Within the private sector, commercially built rockeries have been constructed in the Pacific Northwest for at least the last four decades and in Northern California and Nevada for at least the last 10 years. As rockery design procedures tend to vary regionally, studies were performed to determine the methods by which rockeries are designed and constructed in various regions throughout the western United States. These design methods were then compared using several typical rockery design loading conditions to determine how the resulting rockery designs differ and which methods are most appropriate for a proposed design for the FHWA’s FLH Divisions. Based on the research performed, a rational design methodology, which evaluates rockery stability as a function of the rockery geometry (height, base width, and batter), rock properties and placement, and lateral pressure imposed by the backfill materials, was developed. A sample design problem is included. Recommendations for specifying and constructing rockeries that are consistent with the design methodology are also provided.

Seismic Structural Considerations for the Stem and Base of Retaining Walls Subjected to Earthquake Ground Motions

Ralph W. Strom and Robert M. Ebeling

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ERDC/ITL TR-05-3
May 2005

Cantilever retaining walls can respond externally to earthquake ground motions by sliding or by rotating, or internally by stem wall yielding. The type of response that will have the greatest impact on post-earthquake performance will likely depend on restraint conditions at the base of the wall. Walls founded on soil without an invert slab are most likely to dissipate the inertial energy imposed by earthquake ground motions by sliding. This may also be true for walls founded on fissured or fractured rock. Walls founded on soil or on fissured or fractured rock and prevented by an invert slab from moving laterally are more likely to tip (i.e., rotate) than to slide during a major earthquake event. Walls founded on competent rock without significant joints, faults, or bedding planes and prevented by a strong bond at the rock-footing interface from either translating or rotating are likely to dissipate energy through plastic yielding in the stem wall. All three responses can leave the retaining wall in a permanently displaced condition.

The purpose of this report is to provide methodologies for conducting a performance-based earthquake evaluation related to plastic yielding in the stem wall. The methodologies include evaluation of brittle or force-controlled actions and the evaluation of ductile or deformation-controlled actions. The later evaluation provides estimates of permanent (residual) displacement for walls dominated by a stem wall yielding response.

Performance-based evaluation methodologies are demonstrated with respect to a wall designed to current Corps ultimate strength design criteria and with respect to an older retaining wall designed to working stress design criteria. Lap splice deficiencies related to older walls are discussed and performance-based evaluation techniques proposed. At present the Corps computer program CWRotate is able to estimate permanent displacements associated with a sliding response and a rotational response. An enhancement is proposed to provide estimates of permanent (residual) displacement for walls dominated by stem wall yielding.

Trenching and Shoring Manual

California Department of Transportation
Revision 12, January 2000

The engineering objective of a shoring systems is to be both safe and practical. There are two major parts of the engineering effort. First is the classification of the soil to be supported, determination of strength, calculation of lateral loads, and distribution of lateral pressures. This is the soil mechanics or geotechnical engineering effort. Second is the structural design or analysis of members comprising the shoring system. The first part, the practical application of soil mechanics, is the more difficult. The behavior and interaction of soils with earth support systems is a complex and often controversial subject. "Experts", books, and papers do not always concur even on basic theory or assumptions. Consequently, there are no absolute answers or exact numerical solutions. A flexible, yet conservative approach, is justified. This manual presents a procedure that will be adequate for most situations.

A portion of the text is devoted to the legal requirements and the responsibilities of the various parties involved. Construction personnel must be aware of the various legal requirements. Special restrictions are noted for excavations or trenches adjacent to railroads. A discussion on manufactured products is included.

Anchorage, Tieback and Underpinning Systems

Ground Anchors and Anchored Systems

This book is also in print. Click here to order.

P.J. Sabatini, D.G. Pass, and R.C. Bachus
June 1999

This document presents state-of-the-practice information on the design and installation of cement grouted ground anchors and anchored systems for highway applications. The anchored systems discussed include flexible anchored walls, slopes supported using ground anchors, landslide stabilization systems, and structures that incorporate tiedown anchors.

This document draws extensively from the FHWA-DP-68-IR (1988) design manual in describing issues such as subsurface investigation and laboratory testing, basic anchoring principles, ground anchor load testing, and inspection of construction materials and methods used for anchored systems. This document provides detailed information on design analyses for ground anchored systems. Topics discussed include selection of design earth pressures, ground anchor design, design of corrosion protection system for ground anchors, design of wall components to resist lateral and vertical loads, evaluation of overall anchored system stability, and seismic design of anchored systems. Also included in the document are two detailed design examples and technical specifications for ground anchors and for anchored walls.

Lateral Support Systems and Underpinning

D.T. Goldberg, W.E. Jaworski and M.D. Gordon
FHWA RD-75-128, FHWA RD-75-129, and FHWA RD-75-130

One of the most extensive reports ever written on the subject of lateral support systems and underpinning. The work is divided into three volumes (all of which are included in the download document:)

  • Volume 1: This volume is a convenient reference on the design and construction of lateral support systems and underpinning which are often required in conjunction with cut-and-cover or soft ground tunnelling. The design recommendations and construction methods described herein are a summary of the more detailed information presented in the companion volumes of this study. Included in this volume are discussions of displacements, lateral earth pressure, ground water, passive resistance, stability analysis, bearing capacity, soldier piles, steel sheeting, diaphragm walls, bracing, tiebacks, underpinning, grouting and freezing. An overview compares the relative costs of the construction methods used in later support systems and underpinning.
  • Volume 2: This report provided current information and design guidelines on cut-and-cover tunnelling for practicing engineers. Included in this volume is a state-of-the-art summary of displacements and lateral pressure. Other topices are basic concepts of soil mechanics, ground water in open cut, passive resistance, design aspects of lateral earth pressure, stability analysis of sheeted excavations, bearing capacity of deep foundations and construction monitoring. Detailed explanations of design methods and literature citations are included.
  • Volume 3: This provides specific design recommendations, design considerations, and construction techniques for the construction of lateral support systems and underpinning. The design considerations are presented for each technique or method (soldier piles, steel sheeting, diaphragm walls, internal bracing, tiebacks, underpinning, grouting and freezing.) The factors affecting the design or implementation of these schemes are discussed. Construction techniques are presented, and literature references are provided for those seeking even greater detail. An overview of the construction methods compares the applicability of the techniques and the construction costs of each.

Methods Used in Tieback Wall Design and Construction to Prevent Local Anchor Failure, Progressive Anchorage Failure, and Ground Mass Stability Failure

Ralph W. Strom and Robert M. Ebeling

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Information Technology Laboratory
December 2002

A local failure that spreads throughout a tieback wall system can result in progressive collapse. The risk of progressive collapse of tieback wall systems is inherently low because of the capacity of the soil to arch and redistribute loads to adjacent ground anchors. The current practice of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is to design tieback walls and ground anchorage systems with sufficient strength to prevent failure due to the loss of a single ground anchor.

Results of this investigation indicate that the risk of progressive collapse can be reduced by using performance tests, proof tests, extended creep tests, and lift-off tests to ensure that local anchor failures will not occur and to ensure the tieback wall system will meet all performance objectives; by using yield line (i.e., limit state) analysis to ensure that failure of a single anchor will not lead to progressive failure of the tieback wall system; by verifying (by limiting equilibrium analysis) that the restraint force provided by the tieback anchors provides an adequate margin of safety against an internal stability failure; and by verifying (by limiting equilibrium analysis) that the anchors are located a sufficient distance behind the wall face to provide an adequate margin of safety against external stability (ground mass) failure. Design measures that can be used to protect against local anchor failure are described, along with testing methods that can be used to ensure that anchor performance meets project performance objectives.

Examples are given to demonstrate the yield line analysis techniques that are used to verify that the wall system under the “failed anchor” condition can safely deliver loads to adjacent anchors and to ensure that the failure of a single anchor will not lead to progressive wall failure are. Limiting equilibrium analysis procedures used for the internal and external stability of tieback wall systems are also described. Simple procedures applicable to “dry” homogeneous sites and general-purpose slope stability programs applicable to layered sites (with and without a water table) are also illustrated by example.

Simplified Procedures for the Design of Tall, Flexible Anchored Tieback Walls

This book is also in print. Click here to order.

Robert M. Ebeling, Muluneh Azene, and Ralph W. Strom
November 2002

In practice, the procedures used to design flexible tieback wall systems differ from those used to design stiff tieback wall systems. In the design of flexible tieback wall systems, apparent pressure diagrams are commonly used to represent the maximum loads the tieback wall system might experience during construction. Apparent pressure diagrams used in an equivalent beam on rigid supports analysis are demonstrated in this report. Analyses are performed for flexible wall systems in both cohesionless and clay soil. Flexible wall systems include a soldier beam–wood lagging system and a sheet-pile system. Wall heights of 25, 35, and 50 ft (8, 11, and 15 m) are evaluated.

Apparent pressures are developed on a “total load” approach using limiting equilibrium procedures. Apparent pressure diagrams are nonsymmetrical in shape, as recommended in FHWA-RD-97-130 (“Design Manual for Permanent Ground Anchor Walls,” Federal Highway Administration). Designs are provided for two performance objectives: “safety with economy” and “stringent displacement control.” A factor of safety of 1.3 is used for the safety with economy designs for which displacement control is not a significant concern. A factor of safety of 1.5 is used for the stringent displacement control designs, for which it is assumed that displacements must be minimized to prevent settlement-related damage to nearby structures.

Comparisons are made between the safety with economy and the stringent displacement control designs for the wall heights indicated above.

Simplified Procedures for the Design of Tall, Stiff Tieback Walls

This book is also in print. Click here to order.

Ralph W. Strom and Robert M. Ebeling
November 2002

Methods used in the design of flexible and stiff tieback walls are described. Methods applicable to the design of stiff tieback wall systems are illustrated by example. Important in the design of stiff tieback wall systems is the consideration of construction sequencing effects. Illustrated by example are the equivalent beam on rigid supports method and the equivalent beam on inelastic supports method.

Both the equivalent beam on rigid supports and the equivalent beam on inelastic supports analysis methods consider construction sequencing effects. The equivalent beam on rigid supports method uses soil pressure distributions based on classical methods. The equivalent beam on inelastic supports method uses soil springs (nonlinear) to determine earth-pressure loadings and preloaded concentrated springs (nonlinear) to determine tieback forces. Soil springs are in accordance with the reference deflection method proposed in the Federal Highway Administration’s “Summary report of research on permanent ground anchor walls; Vol II, Full-scale tests and soil structure interaction model” (FHWA-RD-98-066). Soil springs are shifted after each excavation stage to account for the plastic soil movements that occur during excavation. The software program CMULTIANC, newly developed to facilitate the equivalent beam on inelastic supports construction-sequencing analysis, is illustrated in the report.

The results from the equivalent beam on rigid supports and equivalent beam on inelastic supports analyses are compared with each other and to the results obtained from other tieback wall analyses. The results are also compared with those obtained from apparent pressure diagram analyses. The apparent pressure diagram approach is common to the design of flexible wall systems.

State of the Practice in the Design of Tall, Stiff, and Flexible Tieback Retaining Walls

This book is also in print. Click here to order.

Ralph W. Strom and Robert M. Ebeling
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Information Technology Laboratory
December 2001

In tieback wall design, the determination of anchor loads and wall forces requires knowledge about the interaction between the wall and the soil during successive stages of excavation, as well as after completion of the project. Interaction between the wall and soil is difficult to predict. As a result, simple methods of analysis have been developed for use in the design of various tieback wall systems. These methods may, or may not, require a construction sequencing analysis.

This report describes state-of-the-practice analytical methods used to evaluate tieback wall performance and to design the tieback wall and ground anchor system. Analytical methods include equivalent beam on rigid support methods, beam on elastic foundation methods, and finite element methods.

The applicability of the various design methods with respect to various tieback wall systems frequently used on Corps projects is described in the report. Tieback wall systems covered in the report include vertical sheet-pile systems, soldier beam systems with wood or concrete lagging, secant cylinder pile systems, reinforced concrete slurry wall systems, and slurry wall systems constructed using soldier beams and concrete lagging.

Analysis methods depend on whether the tieback wall system is stiff or flexible. The report describes the characteristics of stiff and flexible tieback wall systems and indicates how the analysis method selected can be influenced by wall stiffness.

Levees and Marine Retaining Walls

Design and Construction of Levees

U.S. Army EM 1110-2-1913
30 April 2000

The objective of this manual is to develop a guide for design and construction of levees. The manual is general in nature and not intended to supplant the judgment of the design engineer on a particular project.

The term levee as used herein is defined as an embankment whose primary purpose is to furnish flood protection from seasonal high water and which is therefore subject to water loading for periods of only a few days or weeks a year. Embankments that are subject to water loading for prolonged periods (longer than normal flood protection requirements) or permanently should be designed in accordance with earth dam criteria rather than the levee criteria given herein.

Design Guidance for Levee Underseepage

U.S. Army ETL 1110-2-569
1 May 2005

The purpose of this document is to provide interim guidance for design of levees to minimize the adverse effects of levee underseepage. This ETL recommends exit gradients and associated minimum acceptable factors of safety. Use of this guidance should minimize emergence of adverse levee underseepage and initiation of sand boils along flood-control levees with a landside top stratum. EM 1110-2-1913, Design and Construction of Levees, currently contains design recommendations for levee seepage control. Except for the changes recommended in this ETL, all other definitions, design equations and procedures recommended in EM 1110-2-1913 should be followed. Where changes are recommended, the specific EM reference is noted in brackets. Currently, EM 1110-2-1913 is in the process of being updated to incorporate these recommendations and other changes. This ETL will be rescinded when the EM is revised.

Evaluation of I-Walls

U.S. Army ETL 1110-2-575
1 September 2011

This Engineer Technical Letter (ETL) provides updated technical criteria and guidance for evaluation of existing I-walls. General guidance for performing I-wall evaluation is provided along with detailed updates to existing guidance that focus on three I-wall performance items: the flood-side gap that was discovered at I-walls in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina; the rotational stability failure mode found to be the critical failure mode for most I-walls evaluated nationwide in the Phase II evaluation; and criteria for consideration of deflections. This guidance is for I-walls designed to provide flood risk reduction from inland flooding, not from coastal storm surges with significant wave and vessel impact loads. I-walls in coastal areas shall be evaluated in consultation with the Headquarters, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Retaining and Flood Walls

Also available in print form by clicking here

U.S. Army EM 1110-2-2502
29 September 1989

This manual provides guidance for the safe design and economical construction of retaining and flood walls. This manual is intended primarily for retaining walls which will be subjected to hydraulic loadings such as flowing water, submergence, wave action, and spray, exposure to chemically contaminated atmosphere, and/or severe climatic conditions. For the design of retaining walls which will not be subjected to hydraulic loadings or severe environmental conditions as described above, TM 5-818-1 may be used for computing the loadings and evaluating the stability of the structure.

A complete treatment of retaining and flood walls, excluding sheet piling. Also contains a very complete look at lateral earth pressures. Includes extensive worked examples.

The Seismic Design of Waterfront Retaining Structures

Robert M. Ebeling and Ernest E. Morrison, Jr.

Also available in print form here.

Note: in addition to a complete description of seismic design asepcts of retaining walls, this report has one of the best public domain description of lateral earth pressures available.
Click here for a summary of M > 5 earthquakes in the last seven days. This page also has more information on seismic design.

USAE Waterways Experiment Station Information Technology Laboratory Technical Report ITL-92-11
Naval Civil Engineering Laboratory NCEL TR-939

This technical report deals with the soil mechanics aspects of the design of waterfront retaining structures built to withstand the effects of earthquake loadings. It addresses the stability and movement of gravity retaining walls and anchored sheet pile walls, and the dynamic forces against the walls of drydocks and U-frame locks.

The effects of wall displacements, submergence, liquefaction potential, and excess pore water pressures, as well as inertial and hydrodynamic forces, are incorporated in the design procedures. Several new computational procedures are described in this report. The procedures used to calculate the dynamic earth pressures acting on retaining structures consider the magnitude of wall displacements.

For example, dynamic active earth pressures are computed for walls that retain yielding backfills, i.e., backfills that unclergo sufficient displacements during seismicevents to mobilize fully the shear resistance of the soil. For smaller wall movements , the shear resistance of the soil is not fully mobilized and the dynamic earth pressures acting on those walls are greater because the soil comprising the backfill does not yield, i.e., a nonyielding backfill.

Procedures for incorporating the effects of submergence within the earth pressure computations, including consideration of excess pore water pressures, are described.

Mechanically Stabilised Earth (MSE) Walls and Reinforced Soil Slopes

Corrosion/Degradation of Soil
Reinforcements for Mechanically Stabilized
Earth Walls and Reinforced Soil Slopes

Note: we also have an earlier version of this, FHWA-NHI-00-044, Corrosion/Degradation of Soil Reinforcements for Mechanically Stabilized Earth Walls and Reinforced Soil Slopes

Victor Elias, P.E., Kenneth L. Fishman, Ph.D., P.E., Barry R. Christopher, Ph.D., P.E. and Ryan R. Berg, P.E.
November 2009

This manual provide’s criteria for evaluating corrosion losses when using coated or uncoated steel reinforcements, and for determining aging and installation damage losses when using geosynthetic reinforcements. Monitoring methods for in-situ corrosion rates for steel reinforcements are evaluated and remote methods using electrochemical methods are recommended. Monitoring methods for determinations of in-situ aging of geosynthetics are evaluated and protocols for implementation are recommended.

Design of Mechanically Stabilized Earth Walls and Reinforced Soil Slopes

We have this document in print; click here for more information.

Note: we also offer the predecessor document to this, Mechanically Stabilized Earth Walls and Reinforced Soil Slopes Design and Construction Guidelines (FHWA-NHI-00-043)

FHWA-NHI-10-024 and FHWA-NHI-10-025
FHWA Geotechnical Engineering Circular #11
Volumes I and II (one file)
November 2009

This manual is the reference text used for the FHWA NHI courses No. 132042 and 132043 on Mechanically Stabilized Earth Walls and Reinforced Soil Slopes and reflects current practice for the design, construction and monitoring of these structures. This manual was prepared to enable the engineer to identify and evaluate potential applications of MSE walls and RSS as an alternative to other construction methods and as a means to solve construction problems. The scope is sufficiently broad to be of value for specifications specialists, construction and contracting personnel responsible for construction inspection, development of material specifications and contracting methods. With the aid of this text, the engineer should be able to properly select, design, specify, monitor and contract for the construction of MSE walls and RSS embankments. The MSE wall design within this manual is based upon Load and Resistance Factor Design (LRFD) procedures.

This manual is a revision (to LRFD) and an update to the FHWA NHI- 00-043 manual (which was based upon allowable stress design (ASD) procedures).

Mechanically Stabilised Earth Wall Inspector's Handbook

Paul D. Passe, P.E.
Florida Department of Transportation

This manual is primarily intended for the inspector of mechanically stabilised earth retaining walls. However, it contains a great deal of information of general interest concerning the construction and configuration of these walls.

Sheet Piling

Sheet Pile Design by Pile Buck

Harry A. Lindahl and Don C. Warrington
Pile Buck International

The successor to the classic Pile Buck Sheet Piling Design Manual, this Pile Buck exclusive is the definitive reference for the design of sheet pile walls. It covers every aspect of sheet pile design including the soil mechanics and earth pressure theory involved in sheet pile design, structural considerations, design of both cantilever and anchored walls, earthquake design for sheet pile walls, seepage and hydrostatic loads, anchor systems and tiebacks, cofferdams, corrosion and more. Text includes numerous worked examples and step-by-step solutions featuring various methods of design. Examples include use of Pile Buck's software program SPW911, along with "hand" solutions.

Design and Use of Sheet Pile Walls in Stream Restoration and Stabilisation Projects

NRCS Stream Restoration Handbook, Technical Supplement 14R
August 2007

This technical supplement provides an introduction to the use of sheet pile, types of walls, sheet pile materials, classical method of design for wall stability, structural design, specification, and installation of sheet pile for stream restoration and stabilization projects. It describes typical applications for cantilever sheet pile wall in stream restoration and stabilization projects, types of sheet pile material, loads applied to the sheet pile, failure modes, design for cantilever wall stability, structural design of the piles, and some construction considerations. It does not address stream stability; hydraulic analyses of the streamflow; geotechnical analyses and slope stability of the stream slopes; or the ecological, aesthetic, or geomorphic consequences of the use of sheet pile.

Design of Sheet Pile Cellular Structures, Cofferdams and Retaining Structures

U.S. Army EM 1110-2-2503

A comprehensive treatment of a specialised subject. Cellular cofferdams are an important type of retaining wall that require a design approach like no other lateral earth retaining structure.

Design of Sheet Pile Walls

U.S. Army EM 1110-2-2504

A guide to the design of sheet pile walls, primarily using the soil-structure interactive method. It does not give a detailed description of classical methods, but has much useful information.

Investigation of Wall Friction, Surcharge Loads, and Moment Reduction Curves for Anchored Sheet-Pile Walls

William P. Dawkins
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Information Technology Laboratory ERDC/ITL TR-01-4
September 2001

This report contains discussions and results of three separate studies of topics associated with sheet-pile wall design.

  • Chapter 1 presents an investigation of the effect of the angle of wall/soil friction on bending moments and compares the results of design and/or analysis using classical design procedures or one-dimensional (1-D) soil-structure interaction (SSI).
  • Chapter 2 discusses the procedures for incorporating the influence of surcharge loads on soil pressures obtained from different pressure calculation methods.
  • Chapter 3 compares moment reduction curves from several different sources.

A Study of the Long-Term Applications of Vinyl Sheet Piles

August 2003

This report, written for the Corps of Engineers, summarizes the results of a brief investigation of the long-term application of vinyl sheet piles to address some of the concerns raised in a recent Engineering and Construction Bulletin about the integrity, durability, impact damage, construction standards, and allowable design of commercially available PVC sheet piles. The data used in this investigation were available from existing literature, technical organizational databases, (e.g. the Vinyl Institute), manufacturers’ input, input from the technical experts on vinyl, and a few limited laboratory tests. The comments apply primarily to generic PVC and not to the specific PVC material of any manufacturer. The performance of an individual manufacturer’s PVC sheet pile may vary from what has been generally reported here.

Sheet Pile Design and Performance in Peat

Samuel G. Paikowsky and Yong Tan
University of Massachusetts at Lowell
July 2005

As part of a highway relocation project (RT44) in Carver Massachusetts, long sheet pile walls were installed in Cranbury bogs and ponds in order to mitigate environmental concerns. The subsurface consisting of deep peat deposits challenges the current understanding of the pressures developing on sheet piles and the parameters used for its design. A large instrumentation program has been conducted over a period of 2.5 years, measuring the peat pressure developing along the sheet pile walls during construction and service. This project includes (i) original wall design and associated assumptions, (ii) a detailed field and laboratory study investigating the vertical and lateral properties of the peat, (iii) the instrumentation of the walls using inclinometers and vibrating wire total pressure cells along with a new thin film tactile pressure sensors, (iv) the measurements of the pressures and deflections developing along the wall and independent surveying over various stages of construction including excavation, fill, deep dynamic compaction (DDC) and MSE wall construction, (v) the modeling of the wall-soil interaction during the aforementioned stages using the FEM code PLAXIS, (vi) comparisons between the modeling results and measured values at the different stages, and (vii) the development of recommended parameters for future design of walls in peat.

User's Guide: Computer Program for Design and Analysis of Sheet-Pile Walls by Classical Methods (CWALSHT) Including Rowe's Moment Reduction

William P. Dawkins
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Instruction Report ITL-91-1
October 1991

The computer program CWALSHT was developed from specifications provided by the Computer-Aided Structural Engineering (CASE) Task Group on Sheet Pile Structures and is described in this report. The program uses classical soil mechanics procedures for determining the required depth of penetration of a new wall or assesses the factors of safety for an existing wall.

Soil Nail Walls

Design & Construction Monitoring of Soil Nail Walls

Victor Elias, P.E.; Barry R. Christopher, Ph.D., P.E. and Ryan R. Berg, P.E.
December, 1999

The purpose of Demonstration Project 103 was to introduce the concept of soil nailing use into the American transportation construction practice. The Manual for Design and Construction Monitoring of Soil Nail Walls ( FHWA-SA-96-069R) and Soil Nailing Field Inspectors Manual (FHWA-SA-93-068) were published as a part of this demonstration project. Also, GOLDNAIL (soil nail design software) was developed and distributed thru this demonstration project. This report is a summary of the activities of Demonstration Project 103. It includes the history, concept, construction procedures and cost data for soil nail walls.

Soil Nail Walls

Carlos A. Lazarte, Ph.D., P.E., Victor Elias, P.E., R. David Espinoza, Ph.D., P.E., and Paul J. Sabatini, Ph.D., P.E.
FHWA Geotechnical Engineering Circular #7
March 2003

This document presents information on the analysis, design, and construction of soil nail walls in highway applications. The main objective is to provide practitioners in this field with sound and simple methods and guidelines that will allow them to analyze, design, and construct safe and economical structures. This document updates information contained in FHWA-SA-96-069R (Byrne et al., 1998). The focus is on soil nailing techniques that are commonly used in the U.S. practice. The contents of this document include: an introduction, a chapter on applications and feasibility, descriptions and guidelines for field and laboratory testing in soil nailing applications, descriptions of the common U.S. practice, analysis and design of soil nail walls, chapters on contracting approach and technical specifications and design examples. Because of the popularity of the Allowable Stress Design (ASD) method [also known as Service Load Design (SLD)] among practitioners, the methods presented in this document are based on the ASD method.

Soil Nailing Field Inspectors Manual--Soil Nail Walls

James A. Porterfield; David M. Cotton, P.E.; R. John Byrne, P.E.
April 1994

The purpose of this manual is to provide field inspectors with the knowledge necessary to effectively monitor and document the construction of soil nail retaining walls.

The manual provides information useful to both the experienced and inexperienced soil nail inspector. The manual is organized into two main parts: Preconstrudion Preparation and Constrrtction Inspection.

Checklists are provided throughout the Construction Inspection sections of the manual which summarize key items discussed in the text. The inspector is encouraged to copy the checklists for use during construction.

Appendix A contains blank forms that can be used for proper documentation and testing during soil nail wall construction.

Appendix B contains examples of completed forms.

Construction inspectors and engineers from California, Oregon, Texas, and Washington State departments of transportation contributed to this manual. The International Association of Foundation Drilling also provided input from the industry perspective.

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