Apparent Foundation Failure of MSE Wall on US 36 Impacts Busy Denver-Boulder Route

Failure of MSE retaining wall on US 36 between Denver and Boulder

An MSE retaining wall at a bridge approach on US 36 suffered a failure that closed the entire highway for several days until a bypass around the destroyed eastbound lanes of the highway could be put in place. That stretch of highway was less than 5-years old. The photos of the damage show apparent vertical displacement of the coping beam near the failed portion of the wall, which may indicate foundation stability or settlement issues. A forensic investigation is being conducted in parallel with efforts to shore up the existing highway and reconstruct the damaged lanes. The wall appears to be approximately 30 to 40 feet high in the section that failed (based on photos, assuming 5′ high panels). The repairs are anticipated to take several months and initial emergency funding of approximately $20M has been allocated. A video on the DenverChannel’s Politics Unplugged program (below) has much more video and discussion from Colorado’s Governor and CDOT’s chief engineer.

Source: U.S. 36: CDOT will start search for answers, and blame, on 5-year-old section that’s crumbling