Project Case Studies for Retaining Walls and Compound Walls
Check out the variety of case studies below to get an in-depth look at the plan, design and building techniques used to create some very interesting projects. Each of the projects had unique challenges in either style or functionaly. These challenges were best solved using Allan Block products.
Retaining Walls - Case Studies
Weston Corners is a brand new luxury mixed-use development in Cary, NC. The site required several significant retaining walls during construction, one in particular and in close proximity to the property line, street and a building. This retaining wall was originally designed as a Cast in Place (CIP) wall with brick pilasters, but the bids for construction of such a project came back drastically over budget and at that time, the owner went to Delta Development for a solution.
Yates Residence Sunken Patio
The Yates Project was located on a busy golf course. The homeowner was looking forward to more time at home and wanted a space that could provide some privacy. They wanted the project to have a very contemporary clean feel with stainless steel accents to match some of the interior décor of the home.
SR14 - Washington
State Route 14 is a freeway that runs East and West along the north side of the Columbia River in Southern Washington starting in Vancouver. Though SR 14 narrows from four lanes to two at the West Camas Slough Bridge, most of the congestion and collisions on this section of highway were caused by the signals at Union and Second streets. Backups at the signals made the bridge bottleneck worse. Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) called for widening of the freeway in order to improve safety, increase traffic capacity, and reduce travel time along a heavily used stretch of this road near Camas and Washougal.
Transforming a steeply sloped property and creating useable land is a primary function of segmental retaining walls. This particular project is a good illustration of just how dramatic a property transformation can be. Using Allan Block, this project was able to reclaim unusable land on the slopes below a residence and create a level, useable space for the homeowners to enjoy the outdoors.
Bridge River Substation
BC Hydro is a major Canadian electric utility in British Columbia, Canada. It provides electricity to much of the province of British Columbia. They operate 30 hydroelectric facilities in some very remote locations in the province. On such facility is the Bridge River substation on Seton Lake. The Bridge River Substation is a 2 hour drive from the nearest town and it houses 50 staff. The staff work in shifts where they are on site for 2 weeks and then home for 2 weeks, so housing facilities were required at the substation. The architects wanted a nice look to the facility to make the employees comfortable while they were out on site working for extended periods of time. They liked the aesthetics of the AB Abbey Blend (patterned retaining wall) from the AB Europa Collection based on the photos they saw on the Allan Block website.
DePauw University, in Greencastle, Indiana, was founded in 1837 and is one of the oldest nationally recognized liberal art schools of music in America. With a beautiful campus and an excellent curriculum, the University attracts a wide variety of students and boasts alumni in many prominent fields. In order to continue to provide a place that attracts students of significant promise and achievement, the University put together a master plan to guide development. This plan called for revitalization of the appearance and functionality of the campus build and grounds. One portion of this revitalization plan focused on the addition of quality competition surfaces and the construction of a multi-sport stadium as well as practice fields for soccer, lacrosse and field hockey.
CSX Intermodal Facility
When CSX Intermodal Facility in downtown Worcester, MA needed to expand their property for new rail lines, multiple issues were encountered. With a local roadway at the top of the nearby hillside as well as utilities directly behind the proposed wall, this project presented numerous challenges to both the design and construction of the retaining wall. Incorporating the Allan Block segmental retaining wall system along with multiple reinforcement types would be investigated and applied to make this project an overall success.
The Skyline Ridge development is a large residential community with 90 luxury condominiums overlooking the Manhattan skyline. The original site was very hilly and provided no quality space for building. The solution was a set of large Allan Block walls built to form a construction plateau. The project has 17 Allan Block walls consisting of more than 75,000 AB Classic block and a maximum grade change of 90 ft (27 m).
Braemar Ridge Office Plaza
Braemar Ridge Office Plaza was starting to show its age. The new owners were looking to add new life into the building and the site to attract new clients as well as hold on to the ones they already had. The exterior rehab was straight forward. The building was cleaned and refaced with aluminum fascia, windows, and new sidewalks. But the site work was more complicated. The building was first built in the mid-seventies on a somewhat hilly site which required retaining walls. In the seventies, wood timber walls were very popular and the Braemar Ridge site still had a few to be replaced. The site also had other walls that over the years were replaced with a variety of different segmental retaining walls. The current site was a mess of varied wall conditions and looks.
West Windsor Gardens
Protecting against the dangerous and costly possibility of flooding in high traffic and populated areas can be difficult when wetlands are located in relatively flat areas restricting design options. On this project the problem was solved by utilizing Allan Block to create a large basin adjacent to a new housing development on the high side and wetlands on the low side. This basin prevents overloading of storm drainage systems during high intensity rain fall since the wetlands were adjacent as well.
Herrick Street Bridge
The possible uses for the Allan Block Retaining Wall System continue to grow. The latest success story comes out of Rensselaer, New York. The city of Rensselaer needed a site solution that would not only be aesthetically pleasing, but would also create additional roadway access to one of the busiest rail stations in the state of New York. The design called for an off ramp bridge that would lead traffic from a major highway into the parking lot of the Rensselaer Rail Station. Due to the versatility, durability and aesthetics of Allan Block, the product was chosen to provide the perfect solution.
The Progress Quarry Development project in Beaverton, Oregon was a large scale project that needed some complex structural solutions. This commercial site in a residential setting consists of more than 30 Allan Block retaining walls varying in height with some exceeding twenty feet. The main walls of the project frame both sides of two land bridges with large culverts underneath. To manage the possible water flow below the walls, the flexibility of the culverts during construction and the traffic conditions on top of some of the walls, kept this project extremely interesting.
San Diego Jewish Academy
Allan Block retaining walls have been used in more settings than anyone dreamed possible. Applications continue to come along adding to the system’s list of successes, each one bigger and better than the last. The San Diego Jewish Academy’s Carmel Valley Campus utilized a hillside that could have easily been overlooked, but Allan Block retaining walls with heights reaching 50 ft (15.2 m) enabled a beautiful, functional, and fast paced project to be completed.
Killkenny Drive Ring Dike
In 1997, the Red River "Flood of the Century" impacted the City of Winnipeg's residential areas along the riverbank. Following the flood, protected by temporary sand bags, the Kilkenny Drive North Community qualified for funding to implement permanent flood proofing measures. With residents experiencing flooding up to 6 ft (1.8 m), Winnipeg was faced with finding a solution to provide permanent flood proofing. A community ring dike that retained water and was structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing was the solution. The design goal also included a desire to avoid future risk, stress and disruption to residents as well as minimize environmental impacts to preserve existing trees and vegetation in the riverbank setting.
Allan Block retaining walls have been used in more settings than anyone dreamed possible. Applications continue to come along adding to the system's list of successes. New latest success story comes all the way from "Down Under" in Adelaide, South Australia, where a well-known highway, the Southern Expressway, was extended. This extension passes through the rolling landscape of the suburbs of Adelaide. To best utilize the space of the growing countryside, a single retaining wall was built over a two-mile span with heights up to approximately 17 ft (5.2 m).
What started out as the replacement of an unsightly cinder block wall, turned into a lifestyle showpiece. "It's probably the most beautiful job I've ever done" says Dave Klein who designed and built this project for the Winchell family in Bloomington, Minnesota. The project began when the Winchell's decided to replace an aging concrete block retaining wall that ran parallel to the back of their home holding up a hillside. The block wall was not only hard to look at, but too close to the house to allow any practical use of the backyard. Dave Klein was chosen as the contractor for his experience in wall construction.
The AB Stones has defeated its competitors once again with its incredible 12-degree setback. This project in Walker, Michigan needed two large retaining walls to support a parking lot. The Allan Block product got the job done because it is the only segmental retaining wall block produced with a 12-degree batter.
Woodland Heights is a multifamily development built in the 1980s on a hillside overlooking the City of Chaska, Minnesota. Like many suburbs of the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area, this project was developed on former farmlands. In this particular case, actively cultivated farmlands are still adjacent to the townhomes. An Allan Block retaining wall was proposed to replace an existing failing wood wall along this property line.
Community Center Drive
Basalite Concrete Products, out of Denver Colorado, has completed the largest square foot Allan Block Ashlar Blend retaining wall project to date. The eight-wall project is located north of Denver along Interstate - 25, a major thoroughfare in the Denver metro area. The 16,000 ft2 (1,485 m2) of retaining wall makes this project a giant AB Ashlar Blend billboard. This project of bridge abutments and terraces is not only the largest AB Ashlar Blend project thus far it's also the first Ashlar pattern that uses a three-degree wall batter.
High Pointe Commons
High Pointe Commons is a large project with 6 different retaining walls totaling more than 24,000 ft2 (2230 m2). The largest wall is over 18 ft (5.48 m) tall and 710 ft (216.4 m) long. Although large, a wall such as this is fairly straight forward to plan, design and build. Walls, big or small, have the same questions to ask, how tall does it need to be, how long should the geogrids be, are there slopes above or below, and are there surcharges above and what are the soil conditions? Finding specific answers for these generic questions would allow any engineer to design a wall just like this one. This profile will discuss planning and designing of three particular aspects, small slopes below, surcharges above and planning and installing fence footings.
Lake Tulloch is located in the western Sierra Nevada foothills, about 200 miles east of San Francisco, California. Its primary function is to supply water to several areas to the west in the San Joaquin Valley. In conjunction with several other lakes located on the Stanislaus River, Lake Tulloch acts as a flood control system and is overseen by the Army Corp of Engineers.
Compound Walls - Case Studies
University of Arkansas
o say that football is a way of life in the south is an understatement. Consider the University of Arkansas Razorbacks - They have had a football team since 1894 and football is an important part of the university and their culture. In proof of their dedication and as part of their facility master plan for Razorback Athletics, the university is building new football operational facilities to support their team. The AB Fence System was preferred for the project because it was a cost effective and aesthetically pleasing solution and the university selected it to become part of their master plan.
White Springs Farm
As the economy rebounds and new housing developments start breaking ground again, old plans get dusted off and new bids on original specifications are reviewed. This was the case in early 2012 when Toll Brothers, Inc. first asked Pickering Valley Landscape, Inc. (PVL) to look at a sound wall structural plan that had been submitted by the previous land owner and approved by the township for construction in 2007.
When old fences reach their design life, they begin to look run-down or may even be falling down. This was the case for Marston Slopes Residents in Lakewood, Colorado. The Marston Slopes Development had an old wooden fence that had been in place for years. Both Highway 44 and Highway 121 border the development and have steadily grown in traffic volume over the years, to a point where vehicle noise was quickly becoming a problem for the residents. The Marston Slopes Homeowners Association (HOA) looked for a solution to provide security, reduce traffic noise, and look appealing to the traffic driving by. Allan Block Fence stood out from the rest and exceeded all their expectations.
The City of Calgary's bylaws mandate noise attenuation as part of it's structured planning process. Sound walls are the most common solution and were chosen for the new residential housing development in S.W. Calgary called Garrison Woods. The developer, Canada Lands Development Company, donated a portion of the development to the City of Calgary to construct an affordable low-income housing project. Since this was now city property, the city was responsible for the noise wall construction. While Canada Lands, through an RFP process ensured that the walls were aesthetically pleasing and complementary to their project, the city had to ensure both performance and budgets were met.
"It is very important to let your customers know all of the products you sell. They may not need it today, but one never knows what will come in the future." states the Allan Block sales rep from Clayton Block. This was the case on a McDonald's Fence project located in Union City, New Jersey. Towering as high as 22 ft (6.7 m), the AB Fence was built to block out the loud traffic noise between a residential area and the McDonald's parking lot.
US 17 Mount Pleasant
As with any community that once considered themselves to be small, the community of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina has seen major population growth over the years. With this growth the traffic congestion and noise have continued to increase to a point that DOT traffic studies gave the US 17 corridor a ‘D’ Grade. This poor grade was only projected to get worse, forcing the DOT and the city to develop a plan to expand and upgrade the corridor. This upgrade was not only to relieve traffic congestion but also to reduce the increasing noise problems to the surrounding residential neighborhood. The city of Mount Pleasant, to date, had no sound walls and wanted to set a standard with their first. The City chose the AB Fence System with the Ashlar Blend Pattern for its aesthetic quality, its performance in reducing noise and its competitive cost.
Evergreen Community Association
It was a classic case, an existing residential development starting to feel or actually hear the problems of a growing community. The Evergreen Community Association (ECA) in Woodbury, MN, an eastern suburb of Minneapolis and St. Paul, was sculpted on the site of a former Christmas tree farm back in 1980, and since that time, the population has quadrupled in the City of Woodbury. In 1985 the ECA constructed a 6 ft (1.8 m) cedar fence on the eastern edge to add a little privacy to the homes as the traffic increased along the bordering roadway. Now, 23 years later, the ECA was facing two major problems, deterioration of the existing fence and increase traffic noise. After researching their options the AB Fence System from Allan Block was the solution.
The citizens of Longmont, Colorado had serious issues with the way that local electrical Substations around town looked. They all contained large transformers and were surrounded by 6 to 8 ft (1.8 to 2.4 m) tall chain-link fences that were re-enforced with barbed wire. Obviously, homeowners didn’t want these “eyesores” in their neighborhood, and they started to complain.