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Research and Development (R&D) Project Sites

Project Information
Project ID:   FHWA-PROJ-12-0103
Project Name:   Condition Assessment of a Mechanically Stabilized Earth (MSE) Wall
Project Status:   Active
Start Date:  July 2, 2012
End Date:  December 31, 2014
Contact Information
Last Name:  Nicks
First Name:  Jennifer E
Telephone:  202-493-3075
E-mail:  jennifer.nicks@dot.gov
Office:   Office of Infrastructure Research and Development
Team:   Bridge and Foundation Engineering Team [HRDI-40]
Program:   IRT (Infrastructure Research and Technology)
Laboratory:   Coatings and Corrosion Laboratory
Project detail
Roadmap/Focus area(s):   Infrastructure Research and Technology Strategic Plan and Roadmap
Project Description:   The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is currently undergoing construction of the Hot Lanes project, and as part of the realignment between Interstates 495N and 66W, an existing mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) retaining wall bridge ramp was demolished in July 2012. The MSE wall, built with galvanized steel bar mat reinforcement connected to a concrete panel facing, was constructed in 1976. The age of the wall makes this a good candidate for assessment and drawing conclusions to similar walls in similar environments.
Goals:   The main objective of this forensic examination is to¬†investigate the condition of steel bar mat reinforcements as a function of wall location and backfill quality for a mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) wall¬†bridge ramp.
Background Information:   A major design concern for mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) structures has been the durability of metallic reinforcements in the soil environment in which they are placed. The service-life of an MSE wall is therefore largely dependent on the quality of the materials. The properties of the backfill material in an MSE wall have a large impact on the corrosion of the buried steel elements. Soil corrosivity is influenced by interrelated factors such as the resistivity, degree of saturation, pH, and amount of dissolved salts. Because conditions vary in the field with compaction effort, drainage details, and chloride intrusion due to salting, the amount of corrosion can vary in the MSE wall as a function of depth within the wall and distance from the wall face.
Product Type:   Data
Research report
Technical report
Test Methodology:   Laboratory testing
Expected Benefits:   Increased knowledge and awareness of the condition of mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) walls subject to corrosion.
Deliverables: Name: Research report.
Product Type(s): Research report, Data, Techbrief, Technical report
Description: A research report or TechBrief will be drafted to disseminate the findings of this study.
FHWA Topics:   Research/Technologies--FHWA Research and Technology
TRT Terms:   Transportation
Planning and Design
FHWA Disciplines:   Design
Subject Areas:   Bridges and other structures
Maintenance and Preservation


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