By Colin J F P Jones, West Yorkshire Metropolitan County Council
This paper was first published in GE’s September 1978 issue
The choice of reinforced earth for any particular application is a balance between aesthetic, economic and technical considerations. Each situation should be considered on its merits and it may be necessary to design both a conventional and a reinforced earth solution and offer both for tender.
Fig. 1 shows a situation in which a reinforced earth replacement for a conventional piled abutment is estimated to offer a 50% saving on sub-structure costs. It should be noted however that the superstructure costs for the reinforced earth solution would be slightly higher than those for the conventional construction which could use a shorter deck. In addition, if the removal of the piles from the scheme resulted in differential settlement across the abutment, then a low torsion deck would have to be used. However, experience in West Yorkshire has shown that low torsion decks can accommodate a 1 in 80 twist and can be constructed at a lower cost than conventional decks.