Did you know…that the first Reinforced Earth® true bridge abutment was built in 1969?

Reinforced Earth structures are able to withstand very high concentrated loads.

What is a Reinforced Earth true abutment?

A Reinforced Earth bridge abutment which directly bears the load of the bridge deck – no pier or pile is used. The structure serves two purposes: retaining wall and load bearing.

First abutments in the world: Strasbourg,France,1969

It is remarkable that the first bridge abutment was built in 1969 in Strasbourg, France, only one year after the creation of the Terre Armée company, thanks to Henri Vidal’s engineering vision and personal charisma.

Validation of the concept in the 1970’s and 1980’s

Extensive research programs in Europe and USA were carried out in order to validate the concept and refine the calculation models which are now used throughout the Terre Armée on a day-to-day basis. For example a test structure built close to Fontainebleau, France, in the late 1980’s, was submitted to vertical pressures below the beamseat up to 790 kPa, without reaching the maximum capacity of the structure ! (typical project pressures are around 150-200 kPa)

Thousands of structures around the world

The use of Reinforced Earth true bridge abutments is instrumental for numerous projects, due to:

  • Speed of construction – precast system
  • Very limited space necessary in front of the facing during construction – can be built along open traffic
  • Global cost-effectiveness of the projects
  • Compatibility with large scale total and differential settlements
  • Aesthetics

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Case study

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