Research for AASHTO Standing Committee on Highways. Task 259. Assessment of State-of-the-Practice for Identifying Earth Retaining Structure (ERS)

Earth Retaining Structures (ERS) are an often-overlooked but critical class of assets within the nation's surface transportation network. The Federal Highway Administration estimates that each year the United States constructs in excess of 160 million square feet of permanent ERS; some 40 percent are on public road projects. Increasing use of ERS over the past two decades can be directly tied to increased urban development, increased demands for roadway capacity, and construction in terrain made increasingly difficult by development as well as natural profile and geology. It is not uncommon in recent highway construction for a single complex interchange to require several thousand square feet of ERS. Urban transit, rail, and other transportation modes often rely on ERS as well. These retaining structures typically are essential to a transportation project's economically and politically feasible design and reliable long-term performance. Monitoring their condition and assessing needs for maintenance, repair, and rehabilitation require knowledge and experience. The failure of an ERS not only threatens lives and property, but also can seriously disrupt transportation. Although the body of knowledge for ERS design and construction - spanning a broad spectrum of structure types and construction methods - is fairly mature, understanding of the aging and deterioration mechanics and the influence of maintenance activities, methods for routinely assessing ERS condition, and metrics for characterizing and forecasting in-service performance remains primitive. Research is needed to enable transportation agencies to manage their ERS assets effectively, as crucial elements of a transportation system. The objectives of this research are (1) to review the state of practice for management of ERS in transportation systems, (2) to propose a framework for ERS management as a class of transportation system assets, and (3) to identify methods for assessing ERS condition and metrics for characterizing and forecasting in-service performance that agencies can use to apply the management framework. The results of this research should be immediately useful to agencies undertaking to determine their ERS inventory and its condition.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-07, Task

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  USA  20590

    American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials

    444 North Capitol Street, NW, Suite 225
    Washington, DC    20001

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  USA  20001
  • Project Managers:

    Lemer, Andrew

  • Performing Organizations:

    Gandhi Engineering, Incorporated

  • Principal Investigators:

    Brutus, Olivier

  • Start Date: 20081020
  • Actual Completion Date: 20091125
  • Source Data: RiP Project 20667

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01464294
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: National Cooperative Highway Research Program
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-07, Task
  • Files: TRB, RiP, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 2:39PM