Improper design and poor construction practices can lead to retaining wall failures. Does the use of Load and Reliability Factor Design (LRFD) enhance the overall safety of retaining walls? While Texas Department of Transportation has updated its standards for spread footings for these types of walls recently, there are many aspects that the engineers need to be careful about during the design of such walls including, but not limited to, global and external stability, materials, geometry, groundwater, and surcharge. Additionally, not all agencies accept LRFD solutions yet. Superior construction practices bridge the gap between design and construction and often highlight the flaws in design. But poor construction practices combined with inadequate design leads to a definite failure of the wall. According to AASHTO Bridge Manual, LRFD is a useful methodology which uses a statistically based multiplier to account for the variability of loads, resistances, lack of accuracy in the analysis, and the probability of simultaneous occurrence of different loads. But is it enough? This presentation will discuss the design and construction issues that can lead to wall failure much before its life with or without the use of LRFD.
Nishant Dayal PE