46th Terzaghi Lecture Downunder – Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil: From the Experimental to the Familiar

Robert Holtz, Professor Emeritus, University of Washington, USA

The lecture begins with a historical review of reinforced soil technology, from the ancients, the developments by H. Vidal and K. Lee on Terre Armée and Reinforced Earth, the early uses of geosynthetics for soil reinforcement in France (Bidim), Sweden (Wager and Broms), and the USA (USFS, FHWA, J. R. Bell, T. A. Haliburton, B. R. Christopher and others). The advantages and basic behavior of geosynthetic reinforced soil (GRS) are presented along with an overview of current design procedures, and with reference to UW analytical research results. Practical suggestions are given for dealing with creep, pullout, and backfill drainage. Geosynthetic properties and then discussed, again with reference to UW research results. Although GRS is quite a mature development, a few technical and professional issues remain; primarily, too many failures of these structures occur. Reasons for these failures and some suggestions as to what the profession can do about them are presented. The lecture ends with several examples of successful applications of GRS and reinforced soil technology.

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