MSE Wall Global Stability and Lesson Learned

Timothy D. Stark, Richard Handy, Michael Lustig

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


A highway bridge spanning an at-grade railroad right-of-way was designed using two MSE wall supported abutments. The earthwork included the soil approach embankment and the MSE wall sand backfill. Steel H-piles were inserted through the backfill in corrugated metal pipes and then driven to the desired depth to support the bridge abutments. Before construction of the MSE walls, rammed aggregate piers (RAPs) were installed beneath each MSE wall and backfill to reduce total and differential settlements and increase bearing capacity of the weak foundation soils. The west MSE wall and approach embankment did not perform well and had to be demolished and re-constructed but the east wall performed well. Field settlement and slope inclinometer data show that the west MSE wall moved laterally due to the weak foundation soils. This paper discusses the cause of the lateral wall movements and presents recommendations for the design of future MSE walls founded on RAPs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGeotechnical Special Publication
EditorsSanjeev Kumar, Joseph T. Coe, Christopher L. Meehan, Miguel A. Pando
PublisherAmerican Society of Civil Engineers
Number of pages13
EditionGSP 305
ISBN (Electronic)9780784482070, 9780784482087, 9780784482094, 9780784482100, 9780784482117, 9780784482124, 9780784482131, 9780784482148, 9780784482155, 9780784482162
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019
Event8th International Conference on Case Histories in Geotechnical Engineering: Embankments, Dams, and Slopes, Geo-Congress 2019 - Philadelphia, United States
Duration: Mar 24 2019Mar 27 2019

Publication series

NameGeotechnical Special Publication
NumberGSP 305
ISSN (Print)0895-0563


Conference8th International Conference on Case Histories in Geotechnical Engineering: Embankments, Dams, and Slopes, Geo-Congress 2019
CountryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology

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  • Cite this

    Stark, T. D., Handy, R., & Lustig, M. (2019). MSE Wall Global Stability and Lesson Learned. In S. Kumar, J. T. Coe, C. L. Meehan, & M. A. Pando (Eds.), Geotechnical Special Publication (GSP 305 ed., pp. 277-289). (Geotechnical Special Publication; Vol. 2019-March, No. GSP 305). American Society of Civil Engineers.