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.
A 20 to 30-ft high retaining wall in a subdivision in San Antonio Texas failed on Sunday causing an evacuation of 80 homes. After an initial inspection, some 55 home-owners were allowed to return. The massive tension cracks that opened along the wall and behind it were 12-15-ft deep and 6-8-ft wide. Reportedly, the wall had problems even before the subdivision was even constructed. More after the break. (Photo by Jerry Lara – San Antonio Express-News)