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The Stresswall concept was originally developed by Morrison Knudsen engineering under contract for the Colorado Department of Transportation. CDOT, in the early 70’s, was planning for the extension of I 70 west from Idaho Springs to Glenwood Springs Colorado. Due to the short construction season at elevations over 7,000 feet CDOT felt that a precast retaining wall option would be the optimum solution. The result was a combination of precast L-shaped counterforts with precast parabolic panels placed between adjacent counterforts.
Due to the shape of the 1 meter high wall panels the panel reinforcement was at a minimum since the resolved earth loads on the panels resulted in a compressive load being transferred to the counterforts. Therefore no tension cracks would develop or propagate on the panels as would have been the case for any other shaped panels. We now use rectangular section prestressed panels in combination with post tensioned counterforts to maximize the load capacity of the counterfort /panels assemblies. Accordingly all of the potential load points of the counterfort/panel assembly has an induced compressive load so no tension cracks can develop.
The result are permanent Stresswall Structures!