Monitoring of Lateral Earth Pressure and Movements of Cut Retaining Walls

Retaining walls constructed from top-down (‘cut’ walls) are utilized on numerous transportation projects. Design of these walls involves estimation of lateral earth pressure distribution to evaluate safety against soil failure at the strength limit state, as well as movement and stability at the service limit state. Various methods are currently used to predict the loads acting on the wall elements as well as to estimate wall movement. These methods can produce varied results. The over prediction of lateral earth pressure and wall movement results in conservative design which may correlate to unnecessarily high retaining wall cost. On the contrary, underestimation of lateral earth pressure and wall movement may result in wall failure or excessive wall deflection and/or settlement behind the wall. Furthermore, there is little documentation regarding actual versus predicted lateral earth pressures or wall movements for cut walls, particularly for those built in Wisconsin. Better estimation of earth pressures will provide calibration of commonly used design procedures and a reduction in retaining wall cost and improvement in performance. This study will meet the following objectives: (1) Investigate the short-term and long-term performance of cut retaining walls, namely soldier pile and lagging walls since they are most commonly built by Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT). (2) Measure the top-of-wall lateral deflection of cut retaining walls. (3) Measure the magnitude and distribution of lateral earth pressure along the height of the wall. (4) Measure vertical ground settlement at various points behind the wall. (5) Compare measured lateral earth pressure and retaining wall movement versus estimated wall movements generated from commonly used methods and computer programs. (6) Determine if modifications to existing design methodologies can be made based on findings of research.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $150000
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Wisconsin Department of Transportation

    4802 Sheboygan Avenue
    Madison, WI  United States  53707
  • Project Managers:

    Zimmer, Andrew

  • Performing Organizations:

    Geocomp Corporation

    1390 Busch Pkwy
    Buffalo Grove, IL  United States  60089
  • Principal Investigators:

    Marr, Allen

  • Start Date: 20170627
  • Expected Completion Date: 20191227
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01640965
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Wisconsin Department of Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: 0092-17-08
  • Files: RIP, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: Jul 13 2017 4:19PM