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Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Focus > October 2009 > Courses Offer Guidance on Designing and Constructing Mechanically Stabilized Earth Technology
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-10-007
Date: October 2009

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Courses Offer Guidance on Designing and Constructing Mechanically Stabilized Earth Technology

Learn how to design and construct mechanically stabilized earth walls (MSEWs) and reinforced soil slopes (RSS) with two courses offered by the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) National Highway Institute (NHI).

Design of Mechanically Stabilized Earth Walls and Reinforced Soil Slopes (Course No. FHWA-NHI-132042) is a 3-day course aimed at educating participants about state-of-the-practice design tools. The course includes comprehensive instruction on the design of MSEWs and the use of load and resistance factor design. The course also highlights construction practices to use in implementing mechanically stabilized earth technology in cost-effective earth retention structures.

Following course completion, participants will understand potential roadway applications for MSEWs and RSS structures. They will also be equipped to prepare conceptual and basic designs and check contractor-submitted designs for walls and slopes. In addition, participants will be able to examine and select appropriate material properties and parameters used in design, calculate the cost of conceptual MSEWs and RSS structures, and determine if construction is a cost-effective option.

A view of bridge abutment walls in Warm Springs, SD
Bridge abutment walls in Warm Springs, SD.

: A close-up view of a mechanically stabilized earth wall near Deadwood, SD.
A mechanically stabilized earth wall near Deadwood, SD.

A mechanically stabilized earth wall under construction in Montana’s Glacier National Park. Construction equipment is visible in the foreground. Mountain peaks are in the background.
FHWA's Western Federal Lands Highway Division office constructs a
mechanically stabilized earth wall in Montana's Glacier National Park.

Also available from NHI is Construction of Mechanically Stabilized Earth Walls and Reinforced Soil Slopes (Course No. FHWA-NHI-132043). This new 1-day course provides insight into the concepts of MSEW and RSS systems and their application to roadways. During this course, attendees will receive guidance on the use of construction materials, information on MSEW and RSS system construction steps, and details on typical construction practices and techniques.

Following successful completion of the course, participants will be able to identify potential transportation applications for MSEWs and RSS structures, recognize differences between available systems and their components, and understand the intent of specification and contracting methods. They will also learn about the major components of conducting construction inspections of MSEWs and RSS structures.

To learn more about the two courses, contact Rich Barrows at FHWA, 360-619-7704 (email: rich.barrows@fhwa.dot.gov). To register for either course, visit www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov. Construction of Mechanically Stabilized Earth Walls and Reinforced Soil Slopes has a registration fee of $220 per participant, while Design of Mechanically Stabilized Earth Walls and Reinforced Soil Slopes costs $420 per participant.

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Updated: 04/07/2011

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