July 9, 2020

Can You Have a Driveway or Parking Lot Above Your Wall?

Allan Block segmental retaining walls (SRW) can be designed for virtually any site condition, including all sorts of surcharges.  Surcharges are defined as any external loading condition that is above the wall.  Common surcharges are slopes, driveways, parking lots, roadways, sidewalks, buildings, patios, etc.  Driveways and parking lot loading come from vehicles, of course, and from an engineering standpoint, are considered Live Loads.  Live Loads, like vehicles, are not always there.  They come and go with high loads, and then no loads.  This type of load is perfectly handled by an SRW because they are designed to flex and move.  The geogrid reinforcement interacts with the soils and the block facing to handle these surcharges easily.

The AB Walls Design Software has many versatile surcharge functions built into the programing.  Engineers can put combinations of live and dead load surcharges that are either continuous or line loads.  These combinations provide engineers the flexibility to model virtually any surcharge they will encounter on any project site.

Things to consider with surcharges above your wall, are lengthening the top layer(s) of grid to provide additional strength to the pavement structure above, fences, pedestrian guardrails, and traffic bumpers.  These external conditions all apply a top-of-wall overturning force that the engineer can easily design for.

For more information on AB Walls modeling, surcharges, top of wall overturning, or any other questions related to Allan Block wall design or construction, contact Allan Block at engineering@allanblock.com.

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