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Texas Capitol Complex Phase 1 Expansion – Retention System Design & Construction

The State of Texas recently adopted a master plan to expand the existing Capitol Complex in Austin. Phase 1 of this expansion will add two new State office buildings and five levels of underground parking to the existing Complex. Additionally, a landscaped pedestrian mall will be built atop a portion of the underground parking to enhance the area as a cultural destination. Brierley Associates was selected to provide detailed design of the entire Phase 1 earth retention system for an approximately 40-65 ft (12-20 m) deep, 500,000+ yd3 (380,000+ m3) excavation through overburden soils and limestone bedrock. To facilitate overall project coordination, all design packages were required to develop Revit models, including the retention system package. With the project located in an urban setting, this 3D model also facilitated coordination of the retention system with adjacent major structures and utilities. The retention system is a combination of soil nails, soldier piling with tiebacks and rock anchors with a shotcrete facing as a substrate for the below-grade blindside waterproofing system. Due to the substantial scope of excavation, a significant number of utilities had to be routed on a temporary span over the excavation. Brierley Associates designed this utility support structure, which required extensive coordination with the excavation support and existing utilities located directly underneath the structure’s foundations. Preconstruction geotechnical work identified a small displacement fault that might be encountered within the excavation; however, construction observations determined it to be in a much more adverse location and orientation than originally anticipated. This paper outlines the original design of the retention system and utility support structure within a BIM model and illustrates the field observations that led to a significant design change during construction.


Charles A. Luxford PE, SE
Sector Lead
Brierley Associates