They are calling it "slope failure"

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by YellowDogSVC, Jan 26, 2010.

  1. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,776

    Part of me isn't buying the fact that the whole slope slid due to the retaining wall failure.

    I'm sure that the wall was the main issue, but that whole hillside slid. I would think that no retaining wall could withstand a massive movement of soil such as this.

    I'm going to say that the soil structure is partially to blame and that issue should have been addressed before the project even started.
     
  2. YellowDogSVC

    YellowDogSVC LawnSite Gold Member
    from TX
    Posts: 3,754

    Here is my thoughts as an observer.
    The ground is very hard in Texas even in San Antonio. We were in a bad drought when those homes were built (most likely) and the ground was hard, dry, and had virtually been shrink wrapped. Add tons of fill with a dozer or scraper and it's tilting a hot pizza. The cheese slides off the dough because it isn't anchored to anything. Gravity is a hell of a thing and the developer probably knew that but the super didn't compact or put enough large rocks in the mix to help stabilze the slope.

    As for the retaining wall, I haven't see it up close but doesn't it look a little small? Wouldn't a gabion wall been more effective along with more gradual slope?

    This affects all of us in the dirt industry. More regulations will come up in my area because of this and much like the infamous San Antonio mulch
    fire of 2007, the rules are never designed to make a contractors life any easier.

    I am going to follow this story and try and learn something. Personally, I'd like to see more custom homes (built into the landscape) instead of cookie cutter neighborhoods that unfortunately make the land conform but I realize that these types of neighborhoods are big business and they aren't going anywhere.
     
  3. AWJ Services

    AWJ Services LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Ga
    Posts: 4,276

    When the wall is engineered soil composition, fill , water flow, etc are figured into the walls design. Usually these plans will have a wall block that the Wall manufacturer establishes as applicable to the load ratings establish by the engineering plans and will work in that application. Ultimatley the installer is responsible that all engineering specifications are abided by and the wall block is installed to wall block manufacturers specifications as well as the wall is properly back filled. If all 3 do there job the wall stays in place.

    Hopefully the truth will be available.
     
  4. YellowDogSVC

    YellowDogSVC LawnSite Gold Member
    from TX
    Posts: 3,754

    Update. Slope has been stabilized and made it through the rains but the lawyers are swarming like bees. A number of people, who were not directly affected, have already sued out of fear of further collapse. the news found the saddest little, non English speaking immigrant and translated her story about how she is suing because she is in fear of another wall collapse. She is downhill but from what I gathered, not exactly in danger of having her house wash away. The landslides here are gradual and though some happen quickly, most don't go far. The hills aren't that steep.
     
  5. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,776

    Keep us up to date, I'd like to know what the final word is, if there is going to be one.
     
  6. YellowDogSVC

    YellowDogSVC LawnSite Gold Member
    from TX
    Posts: 3,754

    they halted repairs last week when the rains moved in then resumed. I think it is stabilized. more heavy rain is moving in tomorrow, though, and we'll see. It is not uncommon for the ground here to resist compaction. the clay swells and shrinks with sun and rain cycles. I have seen county roads excavated and oversize rock dumped where the clay was then resurfaced with base and asphalt.
    Out in the country we just live and work with shifting soils but the city slickers run to the lawyer. I think they would be better off negotiating for neighborhood improvements and repairs. Too many builders put in walls and fences only to have them look like hell after a few years. Maybe the property owners could negotiate with the developer for that rather than tying him up in court..BUT...the lawyers start circling at the smell of blood. Makes me sick. How can lawyers sleep at night? Must be on a pillow stuffed with blood money.
     

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