Assessment of Soil Arching Factor for Retaining Wall Pile Foundations (Phase I)

This proposed research project will assess the current California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) methodology for determining the embedment depth of soldier piles used in shoring applications, and propose improvements to the methodology based on the research results. The depth of embedment using the current procedure is based on a variety of factors; however, it is dominated by two: (i) the assumed three-dimensional (3D) soil arching effect (or arching capability factor) of the soldier pile foundation extrapolated from sheet pile design theory, and (ii) the reduction factor due to the proximity of a slope. Upon close examination of the procedures highlighted in the manual, it was concluded that the current method may be overly conservative and a better approach could be adopted.