Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices. Topic 55-03. Asset Management Practices for Mechanically Stabilized Earth Walls

Since its emergence in the 1960s, soil reinforcement has become an indispensable technology in the earth retention in the United States and globally. Mechanically Stabilized Earth (MSE) walls are widely used in transportation projects due to their cost-saving, time-efficient, and resilient nature. However, none of the walls constructed so far have been able to meet the 75-year service-life expectancy. Additionally, design guidelines, construction materials, and protocols have significantly evolved since the technology was first adopted in the 1970s. Therefore, the early MSE walls constructed using outdated design guidelines and construction protocols may be inadequate according to the current state of the practice. As a result, some of these early structures have failed unexpectedly due to their deterioration over time. Deterioration processes in MSE walls may involve different types of mechanisms with different onsets and progress at different rates. Collectively, these mechanisms contribute variably to the overall deterioration rate of a wall during the service life of the wall. State departments of transportation (DOTs) do not have a standard practice for managing their MSE wall assets. The objective of this synthesis is to document state DOT asset management practices for MSE walls in their inventories. Information to be gathered includes (but is not limited to): (1) Approaches to inventorying and categorizing MSE walls based on their design and construction specifications (with the consideration of specification disparities in the older generations), and their risk level (and any consequences associated with their failure); (2) Definition of malfunction or signs of distress, and tools used to evaluate MSE walls performance; (3) Performance indicators used for MSE wall inspections; (4) Methods of collecting and processing field inspection data; (5) Approaches to rating MSE walls based on their vulnerability; (6) Proactive mitigation methods used to address older generations of MSE walls and maintenance techniques to deal with walls showing signs of deterioration-related distress; and (7) Methods of factoring long-term deterioration of MSE walls into the design and construction of new MSE wall assets.


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  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $55000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-05, Topic 55-03

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Synthesis

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Nasri, Arefeh

  • Start Date: 20230807
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01884752
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-05, Topic 55-03
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: Jun 9 2023 12:31PM