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Retaining wall excellence in Spain with Terraforce


The newly completed Terraforce earth retaining wall at the Salamanca Hospital, Salamanca, Spain, is a display of technical excellence. Following the installation process step by step, the outstanding outcome is not surprising.

Retaining wall excellence in Spain with Terraforce

Skilled contractors are key to great Terraforce wall

Installed and designed (using the Terraforce Maxiwall Pro software) by ORBE Tecnicas Y Medioambiente, an environmental engineering company specialized in the construction of reinforced soil structures, the four Terraforce rock face finish retaining walls cover 2300 m² surface area, with a maximum height of 7,86 m.

Miguel Seller, Civil Engineer at ORBE Tecnicas Y Medioambiente says; “The main retaining wall supports a new access road to the hospital, and in some sections; special consideration had to be given to the placement of geogrids due to the presence of a large drainage pipe (2,5 m in diameter) near the visible face of the wall.

Gravel foundation as designed

Facing challenges with confidence

“Another unique challenge was that we had to adapt the slope of the concrete block wall to meet another vertical wall; which was very complex from a topographical point of view. Another interesting technical aspect to highlight is that part of the Terraforce wall is set in a floodplain area of the river Tormes; so in those cases; a permeable soil was used as the reinforced soil, with better geotechnical characteristics.”

The slope of the wall had to be adapted to meet another vertical wall

Quality Geogrids for extra strength

Seller adds: “We used Huesker (Fortrac) geogrids with nominal tensions between 35 and 80 kN. The natural foundation ground was a slate soil, with 28º of internal friction; 10 kN / m2 of cohesion and 19.95 kN / m3 of specific weight. In the reinforced soil; we use soil with 30º internal friction and a density of 20.00 kN / m3, of course without cohesion.”

The new road, Paseo de la Transición Española; adds a length of almost 600 meters to the existing road system and provides direct access to the hospital emergency zone. It also includes another central roundabout that allows access to the new hospital complex and future parking. Landscaping and a bicycle path are in progress of construction.

The river Tormes in the background

Without a doubt, the completed project is pleasing to the eye. The additional coping blocks; the fencing along the top; as well as the large rock strip lining the base add an eye-catching visual dimension to the wall.

Project Participants

Client: Salamanca City Council

Project Manager: Excelentísimo Ayuntamiento de Salamanca

Main Contractor: Ferrovial Construcción

Sub Contractor: ORBE Tecnicas Y Medioambiente

Block Supplier: Prensagra Prefabricados

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