TAC Releases Guide for Mechanically Stabilized Earth Walls

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) has released Design, Construction, Maintenance and Inspection Guide for Mechanically Stabilized Earth Walls (2017) in its online Bookstore.

The Guide is priced at $149 for TAC members and $199 for non-members (order code PTM-MSEW-E). It is available in both print and e-book formats. A primer, Mechanically Stabilized Earth Walls, providing a brief, general overview of this topic, is available for free on TAC’s website.

The new TAC publication provides owners, engineers, suppliers and contractors of Mechanically Stabilized Earth (MSE) walls with practical guidance on the selection, design, construction, and inspection of these structures with a focus on public works projects.

The guide was developed through reviews of published literature supplemented by a survey of industry stakeholders. It is not intended to reproduce the large volume of published design guidance and related information; rather the guide highlights aspects of the current state of practice in Canada and suggests modifications of current practice where deficiencies are apparent.

“It was found there was no code authority in Canada which addressed who was ultimately responsible for structural and geotechnical design, material considerations, inspection during construction, asset management and repairs of MSE walls,” says TAC Program Manager, Craig Stackpole. “Owners had to rely heavily on international resources to assist in guiding them to an end product and beyond, until now.”

The Guide features a brief overview of types and components of MSE walls, and delves into guidance for stakeholder roles and responsibilities, typical applications, basic MSE design theory, summer and winter construction, and quality assessment and control.  Lessons learned, such as galvanizing testing on bends to mitigate embrittlement, and examples of integrated barriers, are also included.

The development of the Design, Construction, Maintenance and Inspection Guide for Mechanically Stabilized Earth Walls was made possible with funding provided by Alberta Transportation; British Columbia Transportation and Infrastructure; Manitoba Infrastructure; New Brunswick Transportation and Infrastructure; Newfoundland and Labrador Transportation and Works; Ministry of Transportation Ontario; Prince Edward Island Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy; le ministère des Transports, de la Mobilité durable et de l’Électrification des transports du Québec; Saskatchewan Highways and Infrastructure; Altantic Industries Limited; NILEX; Reinforced Earth Company Ltd.; Tensar International Corp., and the cities of Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg.


MSE walls are a mature earth retention technology but concerns sometimes arise over who retains ultimate responsibility for wall design, quality assurance, asset management and repairs, and post-construction in-service monitoring, particularly if significant construction or performance problems occur.