Retaining Walls a Landslide Solution

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retaining wall

Although landslide is a natural, geological phenomenon involving land movement it can be truly devastating when it occurs on someone’s property. It can occur in offshore, coastal and onshore environments when there is a specific sub-surface condition. However usually there has to be a trigger either a natural or human cause such as soil erosion, earthquakes, melting glaciers, deforestation, cultivation, construction or vibrations from traffic. Landslides can affect a limited area or can be true natural disasters. Whatever the situation, finding a solution is essential in preventing further damages such as building damages or road blocks.

Solutions for landslide

Over the years both the government and private contractors searched for solutions to prevent and correct landslides. Of course preventing the triggering event is the ideal solution. There are four main types of solutions for preventing landslides:

  • Economic: the government should invest in informing the public about the risks and in finding solutions before the events occur
  • Social: landowners should become aware of the risks and act accordingly to prevent it
  • Environmental: preserving the natural vegetation, avoiding  deforestation  and cultivation in high risk areas is often an efficient way of preventing landslides
  • Infrastructural: ground expertise should be done before any construction activity begins in an area, to make sure the land is stable enough

Landslide protection can also include mechanic rock applications including wire meshing, retaining walls, soil nailing and rock bolting.

Retaining walls as a landslide solution

Retaining walls are structures designed to restrain the soil. They are normally used in areas with steep slopes or where the landscape needs to be shaped severely for construction or engineering projects.  However retaining walls have been found to be a very efficient solution against landslides. There are various ways of constructing a retaining wall, the most common types being:

  • Gravity walls: they manage to resist pressure from behind due to their own mass
  • Piling walls: made of steel they are usually used in tight spaces with soft soil having 2/3 of the wall beneath the ground
  • Cantilever walls: they have a large structural footing and convert horizontal pressure from behind the wall into vertical pressure on the ground below
  • Anchored walls: they use cables or other stays anchored in the rock or soil behind to increase resistance

The type of wall that will be used depends on the circumstances of every case. Soil type, slope angle, ground water characteristics and other specifics will be considered before deciding on the proper solution.

Who to contact in case of landslide risk?

Unfortunately there are plenty of areas in the U.S. that are landslide-prone. If you live in such an area you probably noticed different reinforcing constructions in the area. The major problem with these structures is that they require major investments and unfortunately the line between public and private investment is not clear enough. There is always debate around questions like: who will pay the costs of the construction or what is the exact difference between a publicly-funded street and utilities that serve private homes.

In case you find yourself in a risky situation the first thing to do is to contact the authorities and find out if there is a chance they will pay for reinforcement work. If you have to support the costs yourself, you can always contact Vindel’s Construction. We’ll work together with you to find the best solution both from safety and cost efficiency point of view.