Cut Side Wall Design

This page illustrates a step by step procedure for designing a Concrete Cut Wall, a wall commonly used in the Western Federal Lands Highway Division. The criteria dynamically modifies the footing thickness and width as the wall stem height changes, using standard structural formulas that can be modified as necessary.

An example of a typical Cut Side Wall (including a description of the wall adhoc attributes) is shown below:

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Adhoc Name: Description:
Wall Batter Slope of the outside face of the Cut wall, expressed in master units.
Wall Width Cut wall thickness, expressed in master units.
Wall Above Ground Cut wall height above proposed ground, expressed in master units.
Min. Stem Height Minimum height of wall stem, expressed in master units.
Wall Width Factor Value used for mathematically determining the minimum width of the wall based on the wall height.
Footing Thickness Thickness of wall footing, expressed in master units. This is considered a minimum and will be compared against the height of the wall using the formula (wall height / 10). The greater of the two will be used.
Structure Exc Width Excavation width beyond the parapet wall footing edges, expressed in master units.
Wall Excavation Slope Slope of the wall excavation on the back side of the wall, expressed in rise:run.
BottomFootingProfName Name of the designed proposed bottom of footing profile. This is used in the second phase of the wall design.
TopFootingProfName Name of the designed proposed top of footing profile. This is used in the second phase of the wall design.
TopWallProfName Name of the designed proposed top of wall. This is used in the second phase of the wall design.
WallChainName Name of the chain used for the face of wall stationing, (independent stationing from centerline).

This design concept consists of a multi-step process that involves not only the designer, but also the Structural and/or Geotechnical Engineer, with the final result being a set of proposed cross sections that reflects a constructible wall with stepped footing elevations, stepped footing widths and accurate earthwork volume calculations.

The "Steps" in Brief

  1. Create the initial proposed cross sections that reflect a retaining wall resulting from default values such as:
    • Wall Batter
    • Minimum Stem Height
    • Footing Thickness
  2. From these proposed cross sections, use GEOPAK's Profile Grade Report and store several chains and profiles from "search text" (automatically drawn on the cross sections by the criteria) reflecting:
    • Top of Wall
    • Top of Wall Footing
    • Bottom of Wall Footing "Front Face"
    • Bottom of Wall Footing "Back Face" (chain only, profiles actually are not required for both edges of the bottom of the footings).
    • Gutter line
  3. Create an elevation view layout that reflects the 4 profiles. Provide this to the Structural and/or Geotechnical Engineer.
  4. Easily determine minimum footing width requirements. Provide this to the Structural and/or Geotechnical Engineer.
  5. From the elevation view and plan view layouts, the Structural and/or Geotechnical Engineer will perform the actual FINAL wall layout, reflecting stepped footing elevations, stepped footing widths and optionally a parabolic top of wall profile.
  6. From the final layout, store profiles into COGO reflecting the bottom and top of the footings and optionally the top of the wall.
  7. Define the widths (stepped widths) of the footings in plan view.
  8. Delete the initial proposed cross section elements, created in Step 1.
  9. Recreate the proposed cross sections using the stored wall profiles.

Step 1 ... Create the initial Proposed Cross Sections

All of the retaining walls available to design using the criteria are driven by plan view elements. In some cases the actual horizontal offset position of this plan view element has no effect on the location of the wall in the cross sections, but simply acts as a trigger to tell the criteria to draw a wall against the edge of the pavement. The Concrete Cut wall is one of the walls that simply uses these plan view elements as a trigger.

Note: For more information on how the other walls react to these plan view elements, see the documentation included in the "help files" available by clicking on the Description button from within the Project Manager run. A fragment of the dialog is shown below:

Screen shot

In this example the edge of the pavement is 4.2 m from centerline. Since the actual offset of the line doesn't matter for this wall, draw the "trigger" line somewhere past the edge of pavement, say some round figure such as 10 meters for the offset line. This wall will be located left of centerline from 50+060 to 50+620.

Invoke the Design and Computation Manager, select Prop. CUT Wall and assure that Place Influence and Adhoc Attributes are toggled ON.

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Adjust the Adhoc Attributes "default values" as desired, by double clicking in a field under the Value column, (as shown below):

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Using Draw Transition, draw a line 10 meters left from 50+060 to 50+620.

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Below is a screen capture illustrating the Prop. CUT Wall line, drawn 10 meters left of centerline:

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Create the proposed cross sections as usual. Below is the result at station 50+520 illustrating the Concrete CUT wall, notice how even though the plan view element was drawn 10 meters left of centerline, the wall is placed adjacent to the edge of pavement (4.2 meters left):

Screen shot

Step 2 ... Store the Chains and Profiles

As mentioned earlier, in addition to drawing all the proposed cross section elements, the criteria also places "search text" at strategic locations that can be used by other GEOPAK applications... such as Profile Grade Report. Looking closer at the corners of the footings and at the top of the wall, notice the "search text" as illustrated below from zooming in at each corner:

Top of Wall (TCW) Top of Wall Footing (TWF)
(The extra line shown above
the text is subgrade)
Screen shot Screen shot
Bottom of Wall Footing Face (BWFF) Bottom of Wall Footing Back (BWFB) Gutter Line (11)
(Could be 12 if using widening)
Screen shot Screen shot Screen shot

Use these pieces of search text to store Profiles and Chains into COGO using the Profile Grade Report.

The next step is to create an elevation view of the initial position of the top of the wall, and top and bottom of the footing, resulting from the first cross section run.

It is important to note that at this point each cross section is independent from the other cross sections and have no relation to each other. In other words the result of the initial first run of cross sections does not produce a constructible wall design. The top of the wall will most likely be erratic as well as the footing profile, footing thickness and footing width. In order for this wall to be constructible, the footing profile needs to be flat or stepped in flat sections and the footing thickness and width needs to be formed in stepped thicknesses and widths.

First store the chains and profiles that represent where the top of the wall, the gutter line and the top and bottom of the footings would be positioned initially using the default adhoc values.

Screen shot

As indicated above, it is possible to store all the chains and profiles at the same time. Set the dialog to Sta. Text Alignment in order to reflect the true length of the chains/profiles.

Once the symbology for Existing Ground Line and Proposed Finish Grade are selected and Apply is pressed, the chains and profiles are stored into COGO as shown below:

NOTE: All chains and profiles will be stored with the stationing beginning at 0+000 (0+00 if using US Customary units).

Screen shot

Step 3 ... Create the elevation view layout

Remember that (in non-tangent wall sections) the actual length along the edges of the footings, the top of the wall and the gutter line are all different since the offsets from centerline are different. After discussions with WFL Structural Engineers, it was decided that for simplicity, gutter line stationing should be used when designing the elevation view. Gutter line stationing provides a true length along the face of the wall.

Using the Draw Profiles tool, draw the Profiles previously stored into COGO. Create the Profile cell using the Gutter line chain. The other profiles will be "projected" to the gutter line profile cell.

The graphic below illustrates drawing the Profile cell using chain Gutter11 and drawing the COGO profile Gutter1-1 that represents the gutter line.

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The graphic below illustrates "Projecting" the other profiles to the Profile cell that was created from chain Gutter11:

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NOTE: Although the Gutter line profile is very important, the criteria doesn't use it in the next Phase... as it is later (in Phase 2), driven by 3 other profiles:

  • Top of Wall
  • Top of Footing
  • Bottom of Footing

Give this drawing (above) to the Structural/Geotechnical engineer for final elevation layout. Add grid lines to make it easier for them to layout the final wall design. This will be discussed later.

Step 4 ... Easily determine minimum footing width requirements

It is very easy to provide the individual responsible for the final layout a printout that will assist in their layout. It would be useful to know the actual offsets for these edges of the footings so that "ranges of stepped widths" can be determined.

To create a list of offsets from one chain to another, use COGO's Layout Offset tool as shown below:

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Adjust the Layout Offset Chain dialog to Chain (Radial Intersection) as shown below. (The chains, station ranges and increments shown are examples only.)

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COGO will display the results as shown below. The values in the second column represents the width of the footings at each cross section for the initial run.

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Create an output listing of the results using COGO as shown below:

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Create the output listing by adjusting the dialog as shown below:

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The file created uses GEOPAK's file naming structure that includes the job number and operator code. For this example, the file that was just created is wdth1261.osp. This is still just a simple ASCII file and can be renamed to something else more conventional. Give this file the Structural/Geotechnical engineer for final layout for assistance in designing the "stepped" footing widths.

Step 5 ... The Final wall layout

With this information given to the Structural/Geotechnical engineer, they know the limits of the wall footing concerning minimum thickness, the minimum width required to support the stem height, and they have an elevation view to design the final layout.

Using the elevation view and the ASCII file illustrating the minimum required widths for the footing, the Structural/Geotechnical engineer would perform the following:

The Structural/Geotechnical engineer does not need to use MicroStation or GEOPAK to do this. Take these values and do the work in MicroStation/GEOPAK.

Imagine that after some thought the final layout has been completed. The Structural/Geotechnical engineer provides the following information:

Step 6 ... Designing the final wall profiles

Once the profile information has been obtained from the Structural/Geotechnical engineer, use the Profile Generator to store the profiles into COGO. A fragment of the finished wall layout is shown below:

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Step 7 ... Define the widths (stepped widths) of the footings

In the Plan view, elements have been drawn (at an offset of 10 meters left) that instruct the criteria to draw a Proposed CUT retaining wall. These initial elements (10 meters left) acted only as a "trigger" to tell the criteria to draw the wall. The widths of the footings (at that point) were based on the adhoc value (wall width factor) placed with the plan view element.

To set the actual constructible width of the footing (abrupt stepped widths) that are once again determined by the Structural/Geotechnical engineer, a second line must be drawn in plan view. Once again the actual offset of this line does not matter. Once the 2 lines are drawn in plan view the criteria looks at how far apart they are at a particular station (pattern line) and uses that for the width of the footing at that station.

Below is sample data received from the Structural/Geotechnical engineer representing stepped footing widths:

NOTE: Stations shown below are along the Gutter Line and using Gutter Line stationing.

Section - A Section - B Section - C Section - D Section - E
0+000 to 0+100
Width = 1.60 m
0+100.01 to 0+210
Width = 2.85 m
0+210.01 to 0+380
Width = 1.95 m
0+380.01 to 0+530
Width = 3.90 m
0+530.01 to 0+563.01
Width = 2.65 m

Open the Plan view file and using Draw Transition, and the same D&C Manager item (Prop. CUT Wall) , draw these "second" lines (elements) at the offsets shown (above) plus the 10 meters that was drawn initially.

NOTE: The beginning and ending stations for these second lines (elements) need to be from centerline using centerline stationing.

The initial 10 meter offset line was drawn using the mainline chain Main. In order to set the offset distance exactly, the second line also needs to be drawn using the mainline chain, Main. In order to draw the second set of lines (elements) calculate the mainline stations corresponding to these gutter line stations. This is easily done using COGO and the Layout Offset Chain tool, as shown below:

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Draw the second offset line (using stationing along centerline) that sets the footing widths, as shown below:

Section - A Section - B Section - C
Screen shot Screen shot Screen shot
Section - D Section - E
Screen shot Screen shot

Before drawing the second offset line (elements), adhoc attributes must be assigned via D&C Manager. These adhoc attributes will tell the criteria what wall chain and wall profiles to use for the final design that will reflect the stepped footing elevations and the stepped footing widths.

To assign these adhoc attributes, simply invoke D&C Manager as usual and enter the names of the wall chain and wall profiles that were stored in step 2, prior to drawing the elements, as shown below:

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The Plan view results are shown below, remember the goal is to draw elements outside of the edge of pavement and the "difference" between the offsets is what sets the footing widths:

Screen shot

Step 8 ... Delete the initial proposed cross section elements

Open the cross section file and delete all the proposed cross section elements (at least throughout the wall area).

For illustration purposes, the proposed cross section elements have been left from the first run to illustrate the position of the wall from the second run. These elements from the first run will be changed to a lesser line weight and make them dashed. This illustration is shown in Step 9 below.

Step 9 ... Recreate the proposed cross sections using the stored wall profiles

Process the cross section run via Project Manager as usual. The results as shown below:

Screen shot

The retaining wall in the cross sections reflects the exact profiles and footing widths as designed. Since the wall is in the cross sections, staking notes and earthwork quantities may be obtained that reflect the exact design.

Below is a fragment of the earthwork log file illustrating that the volumes for Roadway Excavation, Structural Excavation and special Wall Backfill (shown as Pervious) are calculated separately from the embankment and pavement layers:

Screen shot

Special NOTE:
Provide extra pattern lines in order to pick up the steps for the footings and the width breaks. COGO's Layout Offset Chain tool will work perfectly for this.

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