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VSoL® walls

The VSoL® Retained Earth Wall System is the first choice solution for highway structures and retaining wall construction.

  • D11 between Dobsice and Libice
    Use of VSoL® technology for two wing walls at bridge abutments for a highway.
    Czech Republic - 2005 read more

    D11 between Dobsice and Libice

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  • D1 Bratislava - Trnavka motorway
    Construction of a bridge approach ramp using VSoL®.
    Slovakia - 2013 read more

    D1 Bratislava - Trnavka motorway

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  • Mangoola Coal Mine project
    Use of VSoL® retained earth walls to create dump stations.
    Australia - 2009 read more

    Mangoola Coal Mine project

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  • Hail Creek Coal Mine expansion
    Manufacture and supply of VSoL® retained earth walls.
    Australia - 2002 read more

    Hail Creek Coal Mine expansion

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A versatile and economical retaining wall solution

The VSoL® Retained Earth Wall System combines backfill, soil reinforcement (steel or polymeric) and facing panels to build a cost-effective and attractive retaining wall.

VSL’s products and services

VSL provides a complete support service for VSoL® applications, assisting clients and their consultants at all stages of the project from feasibility studies to project completion. Preliminary designs, cost estimates and construction details are available as well as detailed designs, drawings and specifications.

During the tender and installation stages of the project, VSL assists contractors by providing quotations, method statements and technical assistance including on-site technical advisors to ensure that the walls are installed in accordance with the VSoL® system requirements.

The VSoL® wall supply package can be tailored to suit customer requirements, from a supply-only arrangement to a full subcontract agreement for the partial or full scope of installation.

Advantages of VSL’s services

High performance

VSoL® walls can accommodate larger construction and post-construction settlements than conventional retaining wall methods.

Cost-effective

VSoL® is very economical and quick to build, having only three primary components.

Versatile

VSoL® walls are commonly used to replace other wall construction methods, such as cantilever, gabion or bored pile retaining wall structures.

Aesthetics

The concrete facing panels of the VSoL® wall system are available with a wide range of surface patterns, textures, colours and shapes: square, rectangular, hexagonal or T-shaped.

Complete support service from VSL

From feasibility studies to project completion, VSL assists the client with services including preliminary designs, cost estimates and construction details as well as detailed designs, drawings and specifications.

High performance

VSoL® walls are internally stable reinforced soil structures that are more accommodating of foundation settlement than most other forms of retaining wall constuction. The use of flexible reinforcement connections and settlement-tolerant facing details means that VSoL® walls can accommodate larger construction and post-construction settlements. This allows VSoL® walls to be built on sites with poorer foundation soils than conventional walls would allow, without affecting the structural integrity or performance of the finished wall.

Cost-effectiveness

In addition to its high level of performance, the VSoL® wall system is very economical and quick to build as it has only three primary components. The use of factory-produced components combined with high productivity during installation results in a high-quality wall finish that is achieved with cost savings of up to 50% compared with traditional systems.

Design versatility

VSoL® walls are often proposed by VSL as design alternatives at the time of tender. They are chosen as replacements for cantilever, gabion or bored pile retaining walls, as the design flexibility and structural performance of the VSoL® system can in many cases avoid the need for expensive piled foundations.

Flexibility

The concrete facing panels of the VSoL® wall system are available in a wide range of surface patterns, textures and colours with square, rectangular, hexagonal or T-shaped panels to suit each project’s aesthetic requirements.

By using local materials in the production of the precast panels, the panel finish can easily be coloured to match adjacent structures or the natural environment whilst minimising transport costs.

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Contributing to sustainable solutions

Matching the landscape

The panels come in a variety of facings which can accommodate any finish, whether concrete, stone or grass, to match the adjacent environment and become part of the landscape.

Saving materials:

The design flexibility and structural performance of VSoL® systems removes the need for expensive foundations on many projects, particularly when bridge abutments are replaced by a VSoL® structure.

Reducing the CO2 footprint:

Using the combination of facing panels, reinforcement and backfill as a primary structural element makes the system very efficient in terms of material usage. This dramatically reduces the need for concrete and rebar, therefore minimising the CO2 footprint.

The VSoL® system combines decorative concrete facing panels with soil reinforcement of welded wire mesh or polymeric strips installed in compacted backfill. This forms a coherent retained earth block wall that has both internal and external stability as it resists the forces generated within and behind or below the VSoL® wall.

1 - How it works

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VSoL® wall solution

The basic retained earth principle involves transferring forces developed within the retained earth block into the reinforcing elements through the facing panels.

In the VSoL® Steel system, this is achieved by the soil particles bearing on the transverse wires of the reinforcing mesh ladder and the development of passive resistance on the projected vertical area of these wires, which transfer the load into the longitudinal bars.

In the case of the VSoL® Polymeric system, load transfer from the backfill is achieved by the frictional interaction of the soil particles with the polymeric reinforcing strip.

The VSoL® system uses laboratory and site-proven materials to ensure long-term perfomance of the wall.

Extensive testing of components for both steel and polymeric systems ensures compliance with project requirements, in addition to meeting both national and international design standards for reinforced fill structures.

2 - Main components

A. Facing panels

The facing elements transfer the backfill pressure to the reinforcement.

Concrete panel facing:

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Ribbed exposed aggregate panel

The concrete facing panels are available in different sizes, shapes and finishes to accomodate clients’ aesthetic requirements.

Alternatively, the VSoL® face can be made of steel mesh with gravel at the back. Such an arrangement is generally used for temporary structures or for ‘green wall’ solutions, which incorporate vegetation.

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Steel mesh facing
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Green wall facing

B. Reinforcement

Reinforcement can be made of either steel in a ladder arrangement or of polymeric strips.

B1 – VSoL® Steel system
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Panel to mesh connection

The VSoL® Steel system involves soil particles bearing on the transverse wires of the reinforcing mesh ladder and the development of passive resistance on the projected vertical area of these wires, which transfer the load into the longitudinal bars.

B2 – VSoL® Polymeric system
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VSoL® Polymeric loop and friction tie connection system

In the case of the VSoL® Polymeric system, load transfer from the backfill is achieved by the frictional interaction of the soil particles with the polymeric reinforcing strip.

C. Backfill

Backfill plays an important part in the stability of the entire structure. Its production, installation and quality control follow stringent procedures and requirements to ensure its performance. Two types of backfill are installed:

  1. The drainage fill is generally installed at the bottom, the back and the top of the VSoL® block to avoid the build-up of water pressure, which would jeopardise the stability of the structure.
  2. The main fill material that makes up the VSoL® block and secures and protects the reinforcement.

3 - Construction

The simplicity of the installation method, coupled with quick-to-make panel connections, ensures cost-effective wall installation. Construction is normally undertaken using a four-person crew, a small crane or crane truck and conventional earthmoving/compaction plant. Installation generally takes place entirely from the rear of the wall, thus permitting easy construction on restricted sites.

Installation rates of 10m²-25m² per crew member per day are typically achieved, depending on site conditions and the availabilty of backfill. Higher productivity is possible on very large sites, providing that the backfill is readily available.

Since its development in the early 1980s, this cost-effective retaining wall solution has been used on a range of infrastructure projects and has proven its performance in a wide variety of applications.

Economic retaining solutions

The VSoL® system is widely used and accepted as a construction method on projects ranging from general grade-separation retaining walls to highway bridge abutments and mining structures. The resulting high-quality wall finish is achieved with cost savings of up to 50% compared to the cost of other traditional retaining wall systems.

Removing the need for piled foundations

VSoL® walls are often built as alternatives to cantilever, gabion or bored pile retaining walls or road embankment structures. The design flexibility and structural performance of the VSoL® system can avoid the need for expensive piled foundations in many cases.

Replacement of other walls

The cost-effectiveness of the system means that VSoL® walls are commonly used to replace other wall construction methods.

Matching adjacent structures

By using local materials in the production of the precast panels, the panel finish can easily be coloured to match adjacent structures whilst minimising transport costs. Ribbed finish, exposed aggregate, stone masonry and conventional smooth-face concrete represent just a few of the standard retained earth panel finishes available.

Green walls

Other facings, such as galvanised steel mesh with coarse stone, living green facings and modular blocks are also available for both permanent and temporary structures.

Full height bridges abutment wall

VSoL® can provide an effective replacement for abutment walls supporting isostatic bridge structures.

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Deer Park by-pass, Australia
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Castle Peak Road, Hong Kong, West abutment under construction.
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Castle Peak Road, Hong Kong
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Nundah Bypass, Queensland, Australia
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Moreda Corigos, Spain

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