Robert W. "Bob" Jensen, P.E.

Michael S. Jensen, P.E.

972-692-5713 fax

CASE STUDIES - Retaining Wall Failure

Also see Drainage Control and Slab Upheaval

Many retaining walls are constructed of used railroad ties due to their lower initial cost.  Commonly, these walls are poorly-designed and installed with insufficient numbers of deadmen to keep the wall from moving.  Of equal importance is a drainage system behind a wall to disperse moisture accumulations, minimizing soil volume changes. 

Here we see what can happen when supporting soils are undermined.  Note the rotational settlement near center of this picture. (left) 

Below, an earlier-constructed wall along edge of driveway was removed along with retained soils, leaving wall support through a vertical soil embankment which failed, causing wall movement.

Retaining wall after several new courses were placed under bottom ties, resupporting wall at lower soil levels.