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06-24-22 | Department

Practical Retaining Walls

Superior Concrete Products engineered, manufactured, and installed five retaining walls
by Marc Leunis, Superior Concrete Products

Virginia Reinhardt Elementary School of Rockwell, Texas redesigned their school to increase capacity and add five retaining walls.
Virginia Reinhardt Elementary School of Rockwell, Texas redesigned their school to increase capacity and add five retaining walls.
This rendering shows the pathway to the retaining walls between the school buildings. These walls range in height and length from 15 to 16 feet tall and 130 to 210 feet long. The project, constructed in November of 2018, used Superior Concrete Products' own cost effective, precast Recon blocks to save on cost and on construction time.
4,875 square feet of blocks were utilized on the project, for a total of 559 linear feet for all five walls at a total height of 12.5 feet.
4,875 square feet of blocks were utilized on the project, for a total of 559 linear feet for all five walls at a total height of 12.5 feet.
The 130 feet long by 15 feet tall Northshore Granite retaining wall is natural gray in color since it is the most economical color. The retaining walls included wrought iron handrails.
The 130 feet long by 15 feet tall Northshore Granite retaining wall is natural gray in color since it is the most economical color. The retaining walls included wrought iron handrails.

Located in Virginia Reinhardt Elementary School in Rockwell, Texas, this retaining wall project utilized precast concrete for a durable option to complete the recently renovated school. The goal of introducing the retaining walls was to create a better flow of pedestrian traffic. Superior Concrete Products engineered, manufactured, and installed five retaining walls varying in length and height from 130 feet long by 15 feet high, to 210 long feet by 16 feet high Northshore Granite Recon Retaining Wall. The retaining walls were designed as gravity walls, meaning the soil was excavated and cut on the existing site. Their Mechanically Stabilized Earth (MSE) walls are built with Recon blocks and can stand up to 45 feet high under the right soil conditions and with the use of geo-synthetic grids between layers of soils, while their Gravity walls can stand as high as 20 feet without a geogrid.

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As part of the construction process, the design plan required wall inspections at various stages. The critical design elements of the project emphasized the importance of the leveling pad meeting the applied bearing pressure supported by the foundation soil. The walls were designed with a flexible road base material TX-DOT item #247 and compacted at 95 percent. The backfill material was ? 3/4 '' free-draining limestone, one foot behind the wall, with a 4'' drainage pipe to allow proper drainage along and through the wall. TenCate Mirafi filter fabric was placed between the drainage rock and natural soil.
The wall construction started in August 2018 and was completed in November 2018.
The company prides itself on not only manufacturing a well-made product in the USA, but they also take it to another level by ensuring the products are installed while upholding design standards and, without building codes that will stand the test of time.
Precast concrete is gaining popularity because it is manufactured in a controlled environment, so the quality of finish is superior, and it requires less manpower at the time of installation while reducing the impact of labor and material waste. Sustainable materials such as green cement uses less carbon and are used to reduce the environmental impact while meeting the required concrete specifications, staging, and scaffolding. In residential projects, walls made from precast reduce block work, formwork, and masonry labor time tremendously while keeping prices and budgets competitively in line.

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