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Earth-Retaining Structures: Selection, Design, Construction, and Inspection

1.4 CEUs | Monday–Tuesday, March 21–22


The instructors did an excellent job presenting a multiple of all types of material to a diverse group of students, from engineers to administrators. They kept it interesting, informative and used real-world examples. — Anthony Adamo, Principal Engineer, TTL Inc., Tuscaloosa, AL

Purpose and Background

The United States earth retaining structure market exceeds 200 million square feet annually and there are over 20 different retaining systems to select from which are unique in design and construction. Unit costs vary from less than $30 to in excess of $350 per square foot. Selecting the most technically appropriate and cost-effective system is often critical to project cost and schedule. Selection of an inappropriate system, unfortunately, can result in time-consuming and costly construction disputes. Many engineers, contractors, and project managers do not have the needed knowledge and skills to select, design, and construct these systems.

The instructors present the critical knowledge and skills you need in order to take advantage of the cost-effective use of earth retaining structures in all types of construction settings for transportation, commercial, and industrial development. From start to finish - from design to construction and general site development - the instructors lead you through the myriad of more than 20 different retaining wall systems.

During this two-day program, the instructors present a logical sequence of topics and activities to allow participants to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. These activities include: lecture, participant exercises, instructor lead example problems, and lively discussion periods. All participants will receive a copy of the Federal Highway Administration (June 2008) on the selection, design, and construction of earth retaining structures. This publication is the 3rd edition of the subject document and includes extensive sections in many topics including subsurface drainage, selection of soil and rock properties, and detailed design examples. This publication follows AASHTO specifications for bridges and structures, but has direct standard of practice guidance for all civil engineering applications requiring temporary and permanent retaining structures.

Seminar Benefits and Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, participants will have gained enormously from the experience and the practical knowledge of the instructors and will be able to:

  • Recognize potential applications for earth retention structures used in civil engineering applications
  • Select the most technically appropriate and cost-effective earth retaining system for your application
  • Examine and select appropriate material properties, soil/rock design parameters, and earth pressure diagrams
  • Prepare conceptual and basic designs using appropriate design methods, factors of safety, earth pressure diagrams, and field verification methods
  • Explain and apply load and resistance factor design principles to the design of temporary and permanent earth retaining structures
  • Evaluate and review contractor submitted designs
  • Select appropriate specification/contracting method(s) and prepare contract documents
  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of retaining wall construction and maintenance

Assessment of Learning Outcomes

Achievement of the learning outcomes will be assessed through class exercises, class discussions following the presentation of each major topic, and through short case studies.

Who Should Attend?

This program is developed to meet the needs of generalist civil engineers, geotechnical and structural specialists, contractors, and retaining wall company representatives.

Seminar Outline

8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

Day 1

  • Introductions, Learning Objectives, and Course Overview
  • History/Classification/Selection of Earth Retaining Systems
  • Soil and Rock Properties (tests and design property selection)
  • Lateral Earth Pressures
  • Cast-in-Place and Semi-Gravity Wall
  • Modular Gravity Walls
  • Mechanically Stabilized Earth Walls
  • Intro and Concepts

Day 2

  • MSE Walls Design and Construction Externally Stabilized Walls (e.g., Sheet Pile, Soldier Pile and Lagging, Slurry Walls) Intro
  • Externally Stabilized Wall Design
  • Ground Anchor Walls
  • Soil Nail Walls and Micropile Walls
  • Course Summary and Closure

Decided which seminars you want to take? Registration opens soon!

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