Retaining Walls

January 2006 » New & Noteworthy

Hand-crafted appearance

Keystone Retaining Wall Systems—€™ Keystone Century Wall uses three sizes of units to provide the distinctive appearance and character of a random-patterned, hand-crafted, natural stone wall with the stuctural integrity, performance, and environmental friendliness of concrete. The Century Wall is designed for taller wall structures and heavy-loading conditions.

According to the company, a patented fiberglass pin connection method adds structural integrity, and the open-core design of the units allows for additional facial stability and interlocking capacity.

In large-scale and tall wall applications, designers can create curves, 90-degree corners, battered and near-vertical walls, and terraces.

Keystone Retaining Wall Systems


Arch bridges

A new brochure from The Reinforced Earth Company explains how the TechSpan precast arch system and Reinforced Earth retaining walls can be combined to create bridges with archshaped openings and aesthetically pleasing headwalls and wing walls. The TechSpan system consists of half arch units that meet at the crown in a staggered pattern. Opening sizes for bridge structures can be achieved by using multiple barrels and varying both span and height. The Reinforced Earth system uses galvanized steel, reinforcing strips in backfill materials to support precast concrete panels.

The Reinforced Earth Company


Solid, top-pinned segmental wall

Versa-Lok Retaining Wall Systems offers four segmental retaining wall options for residential and commercial applications —€” Standard, Accent, Cobble, and Mosaic. According to the company, it provides the industry—€™s only solid, top-pinning segmental retaining wall system made from low-absorption, high-strength concrete units. Frictional forces between units and tight pin connections help completed walls behave as coherent structures. Gravity walls can be built as tall as 4 feet, depending on site and soil conditions. The company—€™s geosynthetic Versa-Grid can be used as soil reinforcement behind the wall to build walls more than 40 feet tall. Versa- Lok is available in split-face or weathered textures.

Versa-Lok Retaining Wall Systems


Large block walls

Redi-Rock International says the largeblock design of its retaining wall system —€” blocks range in weight from 1,500 to 2,500 pounds —€” allows construction of 75-percent taller walls without soil reinforcement compared with small-block segmental systems, which decreases the amount of required excavation and installation space. Additionally, use of a small excavator, skidsteer, or backhoe and a small crew to install Redi-Rock walls can reduce costs and increase efficiency by reducing manual labor. The company—€™s free-standing blocks have textured faces on both sides of the block and can be used for free-standing walls. Blocks are available in Split Limestone or Cobblestone textures and in many colors.

Redi-Rock International LLC


Variable large-block sizes

ReCon Wall Systems recently introduced several large block retaining wall products, including a 3-foot-wide block, a 2-footwide plinth block, a cap block, and a step block. These new products complement the company—€™s 4-foot- and 2-foot-wide blocks. The plinth block protrudes 12 inches from the face of the wall, and the cap block is an alternative to the top block. According to ReCon, wall heights as tall as 14 feet are feasible without geo-grid soil reinforcement.

Taller walls can be constructed with geo-grids. ReCon—€™s blocks are made of wet-cast, air-entrained concrete with a minimum strength of 3,000 psi. Greater strength concrete mixes are available, including department of transportation-compliant mixes.

ReCon Wall Systems, Inc.


Retaining wall design software

Daystar Software—€™s latest release of Daystar RetainWall retaining wall analysis and design software allows users to choose the appropriate building code for the application —€” ACI, IBC 2003, UBC, BOCA, or SBCCI. Engineers can use the seven standard load cases built into the program or create their own case. Any number of active and passive pressures, soil slopes, vertical point loads, horizontal distributed loads, horizontal point loads, moments, and surcharges can be applied to the design wall. The program calculates soil bearing values, overturning and sliding safety factors, shear stresses, moments, required area of steel, and rebar embedment lengths for concrete or masonry walls. The graphical user interface allows engineers to edit visually the retaining wall design, insert loads, and immediately see the results.

Daystar Software, Inc.

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