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NATIONAL NCHRP REPORT 556 COOPERATIVE HIGHWAY RESEARCH PROGRAM Design and Construction Guidelines for Geosynthetic- Reinforced Soil Bridge Abutments with a Flexible Facing

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TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH BOARD EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE 2006 (Membership as of November 2005) OFFICERS Chair: John R. Njord, Executive Director, Utah DOT Vice Chair: Michael D. Meyer, Professor, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology Executive Director: Robert E. Skinner, Jr., Transportation Research Board MEMBERS MICHAEL W. BEHRENS, Executive Director, Texas DOT ALLEN D. BIEHLER, Secretary, Pennsylvania DOT LARRY L. BROWN, SR., Executive Director, Mississippi DOT DEBORAH H. BUTLER, Vice President, Customer Service, Norfolk Southern Corporation and Subsidiaries, Atlanta, GA ANNE P. CANBY, President, Surface Transportation Policy Project, Washington, DC JOHN L. CRAIG, Director, Nebraska Department of Roads DOUGLAS G. DUNCAN, President and CEO, FedEx Freight, Memphis, TN NICHOLAS J. GARBER, Professor of Civil Engineering, University of Virginia ANGELA GITTENS, Vice President, Airport Business Services, HNTB Corporation, Miami, FL GENEVIEVE GIULIANO, Director, Metrans Transportation Center, and Professor, School of Policy, Planning, and Development, USC, Los Angeles BERNARD S. GROSECLOSE, JR., President and CEO, South Carolina State Ports Authority SUSAN HANSON, Landry University Professor of Geography, Graduate School of Geography, Clark University JAMES R. HERTWIG, President, CSX Intermodal, Jacksonville, FL GLORIA JEAN JEFF, Director, Michigan DOT ADIB K. KANAFANI, Cahill Professor of Civil Engineering, University of California, Berkeley HERBERT S. LEVINSON, Principal, Herbert S. Levinson Transportation Consultant, New Haven, CT SUE MCNEIL, Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Delaware MICHAEL R. MORRIS, Director of Transportation, North Central Texas Council of Governments CAROL A. MURRAY, Commissioner, New Hampshire DOT MICHAEL S. TOWNES, President and CEO, Hampton Roads Transit, Hampton, VA C. MICHAEL WALTON, Ernest H. Cockrell Centennial Chair in Engineering, University of Texas, Austin LINDA S. WATSON, Executive Director, LYNX--Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority MARION C. BLAKEY, Federal Aviation Administrator, U.S.DOT (ex officio) JOSEPH H. BOARDMAN, Federal Railroad Administrator, U.S.DOT (ex officio) REBECCA M. BREWSTER, President and COO, American Transportation Research Institute, Smyrna, GA (ex officio) GEORGE BUGLIARELLO, Chancellor, Polytechnic University, and Foreign Secretary, National Academy of Engineering (ex officio) J. RICHARD CAPKA, Acting Administrator, Federal Highway Administration, U.S.DOT (ex officio) THOMAS H. COLLINS (Adm., U.S. Coast Guard), Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard (ex officio) JAMES J. EBERHARDT, Chief Scientist, Office of FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies, U.S. Department of Energy (ex officio) JACQUELINE GLASSMAN, Deputy Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S.DOT (ex officio) EDWARD R. HAMBERGER, President and CEO, Association of American Railroads (ex officio) DAVID B. HORNER, Acting Deputy Administrator, Federal Transit Administration, U.S.DOT (ex officio) JOHN C. HORSLEY, Executive Director, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (ex officio) JOHN E. JAMIAN, Acting Administrator, Maritime Administration, U.S.DOT (ex officio) EDWARD JOHNSON, Director, Applied Science Directorate, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (ex officio) ASHOK G. KAVEESHWAR, Research and Innovative Technology Administrator, U.S.DOT (ex officio) BRIGHAM MCCOWN, Deputy Administrator, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, U.S.DOT (ex officio) WILLIAM W. MILLAR, President, American Public Transportation Association (ex officio) SUZANNE RUDZINSKI, Director, Transportation and Regional Programs, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (ex officio) ANNETTE M. SANDBERG, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator, U.S.DOT (ex officio) JEFFREY N. SHANE, Under Secretary for Policy, U.S.DOT (ex officio) CARL A. STROCK (Maj. Gen., U.S. Army), Chief of Engineers and Commanding General, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ex officio) NATIONAL COOPERATIVE HIGHWAY RESEARCH PROGRAM Transportation Research Board Executive Committee Subcommittee for NCHRP JOHN R. NJORD, Utah DOT (Chair) MICHAEL D. MEYER, Georgia Institute of Technology J. RICHARD CAPKA, Federal Highway Administration ROBERT E. SKINNER, JR., Transportation Research Board JOHN C. HORSLEY, American Association of State Highway MICHAEL S. TOWNES, Hampton Roads Transit, Hampton, VA and Transportation Officials C. MICHAEL WALTON, University of Texas, Austin

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NATIONAL COOPERATIVE HIGHWAY RESEARCH PROGRAM NCHRP REPORT 556 Design and Construction Guidelines for Geosynthetic-Reinforced Soil Bridge Abutments with a Flexible Facing JONATHAN T. H. WU KEVIN Z. Z. LEE SAM B. HELWANY KANOP KETCHART University of Colorado at Denver Denver, CO S UBJECT A REAS Highway and Facility Design Bridges, Other Structures, and Hydraulics and Hydrology Soils, Geology, and Foundations Research Sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials in Cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH BOARD WASHINGTON, D.C. 2006 www.TRB.org

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NATIONAL COOPERATIVE HIGHWAY RESEARCH PROGRAM NCHRP REPORT 556 Systematic, well-designed research provides the most effective Price $25.00 approach to the solution of many problems facing highway Project 12-59 administrators and engineers. Often, highway problems are of local ISSN 0077-5614 interest and can best be studied by highway departments individually or in cooperation with their state universities and ISBN 0-309-09845-9 others. However, the accelerating growth of highway transportation Library of Congress Control Number 2006921471 develops increasingly complex problems of wide interest to 2006 Transportation Research Board highway authorities. These problems are best studied through a coordinated program of cooperative research. In recognition of these needs, the highway administrators of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation COPYRIGHT PERMISSION Officials initiated in 1962 an objective national highway research Authors herein are responsible for the authenticity of their materials and for obtaining program employing modern scientific techniques. This program is written permissions from publishers or persons who own the copyright to any previously published or copyrighted material used herein. supported on a continuing basis by funds from participating member states of the Association and it receives the full cooperation Cooperative Research Programs (CRP) grants permission to reproduce material in this publication for classroom and not-for-profit purposes. Permission is given with the and support of the Federal Highway Administration, United States understanding that none of the material will be used to imply TRB, AASHTO, FAA, Department of Transportation. FHWA, FMCSA, FTA, or Transit Development Corporation endorsement of a The Transportation Research Board of the National Academies particular product, method, or practice. It is expected that those reproducing the was requested by the Association to administer the research material in this document for educational and not-for-profit uses will give appropriate program because of the Board's recognized objectivity and acknowledgment of the source of any reprinted or reproduced material. For other uses of the material, request permission from CRP. understanding of modern research practices. The Board is uniquely suited for this purpose as it maintains an extensive committee structure from which authorities on any highway transportation subject may be drawn; it possesses avenues of communications and NOTICE cooperation with federal, state and local governmental agencies, The project that is the subject of this report was a part of the National Cooperative universities, and industry; its relationship to the National Research Highway Research Program conducted by the Transportation Research Board with the Council is an insurance of objectivity; it maintains a full-time approval of the Governing Board of the National Research Council. Such approval research correlation staff of specialists in highway transportation reflects the Governing Board's judgment that the program concerned is of national importance and appropriate with respect to both the purposes and resources of the matters to bring the findings of research directly to those who are in National Research Council. a position to use them. The members of the technical committee selected to monitor this project and to review The program is developed on the basis of research needs this report were chosen for recognized scholarly competence and with due identified by chief administrators of the highway and transportation consideration for the balance of disciplines appropriate to the project. The opinions and departments and by committees of AASHTO. Each year, specific conclusions expressed or implied are those of the research agency that performed the areas of research needs to be included in the program are proposed research, and, while they have been accepted as appropriate by the technical committee, to the National Research Council and the Board by the American they are not necessarily those of the Transportation Research Board, the National Research Council, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. Officials, or the Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation. Research projects to fulfill these needs are defined by the Board, and Each report is reviewed and accepted for publication by the technical committee qualified research agencies are selected from those that have according to procedures established and monitored by the Transportation Research submitted proposals. Administration and surveillance of research Board Executive Committee and the Governing Board of the National Research contracts are the responsibilities of the National Research Council Council. and the Transportation Research Board. The needs for highway research are many, and the National Cooperative Highway Research Program can make significant contributions to the solution of highway transportation problems of mutual concern to many responsible groups. The program, however, is intended to complement rather than to substitute for or duplicate other highway research programs. Published reports of the NATIONAL COOPERATIVE HIGHWAY RESEARCH PROGRAM are available from: Transportation Research Board Business Office NOTE: The Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, the 500 Fifth Street, NW National Research Council, the Federal Highway Administration, the American Washington, DC 20001 Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, and the individual and can be ordered through the Internet at: states participating in the National Cooperative Highway Research Program do http://www.national-academies.org/trb/bookstore not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade or manufacturers' names appear herein solely because they are considered essential to the object of this report. Printed in the United States of America

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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished schol- ars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. On the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and techni- cal matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Acad- emy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achieve- ments of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, on its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Acad- emy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both the Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. William A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. The Transportation Research Board is a division of the National Research Council, which serves the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. The Board's mission is to promote innovation and progress in transportation through research. In an objective and interdisciplinary setting, the Board facilitates the sharing of information on transportation practice and policy by researchers and practitioners; stimulates research and offers research management services that promote technical excellence; provides expert advice on transportation policy and programs; and disseminates research results broadly and encourages their implementation. The Board's varied activities annually engage more than 5,000 engineers, scientists, and other transportation researchers and practitioners from the public and private sectors and academia, all of whom contribute their expertise in the public interest. The program is supported by state transportation departments, federal agencies including the component administrations of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and other organizations and individuals interested in the development of transportation. www.TRB.org www.national-academies.org

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COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAMS STAFF FOR NCHRP REPORT 556 ROBERT J. REILLY, Director, Cooperative Research Programs CRAWFORD F. JENCKS, Manager, NCHRP TIMOTHY G. HESS, Senior Program Officer EILEEN P. DELANEY, Director of Publications HILARY FREER, Senior Editor ELLEN CHAFEE, Assistant Editor NCHRP PROJECT 12-59 PANEL Field of Design--Area of Bridges ROBERT K. BARRETT, Yenter Companies, Grand Junction, CO (Chair) NASER ABU-HEJLEH, Colorado DOT TIMOTHY ADAMS, South Carolina DOT BRUCE E. BRUNETTE, Alaska DOT JERRY A. DIMAGGIO, Federal Highway Administration JAMES B. HIGBEE, Utah DOT GORDON KELLER, USDA Forest Service LAURA KRUSINSKI, Maine DOT JAWDAT SIDDIQI, Ohio DOT MICHAEL ADAMS, FHWA Liaison G.P. JAYAPRAKASH, TRB Liaison

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This report presents the findings of research undertaken to develop a rational FOREWORD design method and construction guidelines for using geosynthetic-reinforced soil By Timothy G. Hess (GRS) systems in bridge abutments. This report will be of immediate interest to pro- Staff Officer fessionals responsible for designing and constructing GRS structures. Transportation Research Board The use of geosynthetic-reinforced soil (GRS) systems as the foundation for or as integral structural components of bridge abutments and piers is receiving increased attention and interest. The soil mass of GRS systems is reinforced in layers with a poly- meric geosynthetic (e.g., geogrids or geotextiles), and the layered reinforcement is attached to facing elements that constitute the outer wall. Because the facing elements are commonly composed of articulated units that are not rigidly attached to each other, the wall is deemed flexible. Various materials, including natural rock, concrete block, gabion, or timber, may be used for the flexible facing. GRS structures are more forgiv- ing to differential foundation settlement thus minimizing the bump that commonly develops between the roadway and bridge. GRS structures are more adaptable to low- quality backfill, easier to construct, and more economical than their conventional coun- terparts. GRS structures can be put into service quickly, can be built by maintenance personnel, and are especially well suited to projects constructed in areas that are diffi- cult to access with heavy equipment. GRS structures are an economical alternative for temporary structures, because of their easy demolition and the recyclable nature of their components, and for emergency work, because of reduced lead time and lower equip- ment requirements. Full-scale tests conducted by the FHWA and by the Colorado DOT on GRS bridge abutments and piers with segmental modular block facing have demonstrated excellent performance characteristics and very high load-carrying capacity. Even with the sig- nificant advantages of GRS systems, the use of GRS structures in routine highway bridge construction has not been widely adopted. The primary obstacles to adoption of GRS systems in bridge construction are threefold. The first obstacle is the lack of a rational and reliable design method for such bridge-supporting structures. For exam- ple, although the vertical spacing of the reinforcement has been found to affect the per- formance of the structure, current design methods fail to reflect this important fact. Also, field-measured strains are known to be drastically smaller than those predicted by current design methods. Clearly, the current design methods are not sufficient. The second obstacle is the lack of well-developed guidelines and specifications for con- structing the structures. Such guidelines and specifications are critical to the success- ful application of this technology. The third obstacle is the perception that polymeric geosynthetics may not be strong enough to meet the high service loads expected dur- ing the design life of large bridge structures. Under NCHRP Project 12-59, "Design and Construction of Segmental Geosynthetic- Reinforced Soil (GRS) Bridge Abutments for Bridge Support," the University of

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Colorado at Denver developed a rational design method and construction guidelines for GRS bridge abutments and approaches with flexible facing elements. After an extensive literature review, the researchers conducted full-scale experiments and a thorough ana- lytical study. Based on the research results, a rational design method and construction guidelines were developed and design examples illustrating the design computation pro- cedure were conducted and documented. NCHRP Report 556 consists of the project final report and two appendixes. A third appendix, "Verification of DYNA3D/LS-DYNA" is not included in this report, but is available as NCHRP Web-Only Document 81 and can be found at http://www4.trb.org/trb/crp.nsf.

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CONTENTS 1 SUMMARY 8 CHAPTER 1 Introduction and Research Approach Problem Statement, 8 Research Objective, 9 Research Approach, 10 11 CHAPTER 2 Findings Findings from Literature Study, 11 The NCHRP Full-Scale Experiments, 25 Findings from the Analytical Study, 41 96 CHAPTER 3 Interpretation, Appraisal, and Applications Assessment of the NCHRP Test Abutments, 96 Limitations of the Design and Construction Guidelines, 98 Recommended Design Method, 98 Recommended Construction Guidelines, 111 Design Examples, 115 129 CHAPTER 4 Conclusions and Suggested Research Conclusions, 129 Suggested Research, 130 131 REFERENCES A-1 APPENDIX A Review of Construction Guidelines for GRS Walls B-1 APPENDIX B A Brief Description of DYNA3D and LS-DYNA C-1 APPENDIX C Verification of DYNA3D/LS-DYNASee NCHRP Web-Only Document 81