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Geosynthetic reinforced soil structure – problems faced and lessons learned. Case studies from Romania

Geogrid-reinforced soil structures proved in many cases worthy to consider for the construction of tall embankments and they are especially adopted whenever the land availability is limited and the structures have to be developed vertically. Such structures allow building with inclinations up to 90 degrees, minimizing their footprint on the formation soil. They bring several other benefits, one of them being the possibility of using locally available material. Nevertheless, they are highly engineered structures and require careful design and execution in order to be properly constructed and become functional. This paper presents 2 case studies from Romania – a vertical back-to-back geogrid-reinforced wall with concrete block facing for ensuring access to a transfer platform for municipal waste and a 1:1 inclined geogrid-reinforced dike for flood protection of a sorting and treatment plant, also for municipal waste. For both structures the paper describes briefly the geotechnical conditions and the design calculation, but also aspects regarding the inadequate execution and consequential problems. For both structures problems were recorded during the execution phase due to inappropriate materials and lack of attention for construction-related details. Such cases reveal that reinforced earth structures must not only be correctly designed, but also properly executed and part of their success resides in the attention paid to all design details. One can also conclude that further dissemination of information about the design and execution of geosynthetic-reinforced structures is required.