Avalanche barriers and engineered protection solutions mitigate risks from avalanche hazards when building infrastructure in mountainous areas.

Mountainous areas are characterised by landforms that allow very limited options when developing infrastructure that may be linear, such as roadways and railways, or when developing residential areas vulnerable to avalanches. Anticipation and preparation is key. Several avalanche barrier engineered solutions using Reinforced Earth® MSE walls exist and have proven to be very effective as part of avalanche protection applications.

Avalanche barriers, splitter walls & catching dams

Avalanches produce tremendous amounts of energy that require solutions that absorb and diffuse energy. The design of these solutions require engineering expertise backed with full-scale testing, field experience and know-how.

Reinforced Earth has worked with authorities globally to develop tailored solutions, including in Seyðisfjörður and Ísafjörður, Iceland.

The construction of embankments faced with steel mesh are an excellent option to build avalanche barriers, splitters and catching dams with facing angles that can vary from 34° to 75°. Reinforced Earth offers the TerraTrel® and GeoTrel® engineered solutions. These structures are built of steel mesh facing with soil reinforcements comprised of either steel or geosynthetics.

These solutions have the advantage of being made of lightweight elements that are easily transportable and that do not require specific lifting machinery for installation. This is especially beneficial when the structures are to be built in remote mountainous areas that are not easily accessible for heavy equipment.

Sheds and galleries

Avalanche protection sheds and galleries using TechSpan® precast arches, and TechBox™ precast boxes are other options that have proven to be efficient for avalanche protection applications. Adjoining retaining walls built within narrow excavation limits are often designed using TechWall™ or T-Wall®.

Long-term savings

In countries presenting areas with a high level of risk of avalanche, local authorities often develop their own processes that consist of identifying, monitoring and implementing proactive control measures. For these highly prone areas, programs are in place in which engineers purposely trigger controlled avalanches through the use of explosives, for instance. These measures that reduce the risks of uncontrolled, massive avalanches to occur, while effective, are very expensive and impact the surrounding fauna and therefore require frequent restoration and maintenance operations.

Reinforced Earth engineered avalanche barriers and splitter walls are more economical, in addition to being highly durable and easy to install, with little or no maintenance requirements.

Related solutions

Reinforced Earth®

Reinforced Earth®

Our flagship technique, Reinforced Earth®, is based on the principle of the friction between soil and reinforcements creating a permanent and predictable bond. At the origin of all mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) walls on the market today, we are continuously perfecting this ingenious technique.



T-Wall® is a precast modular concrete “T”-shaped gravity wall. The solution is perfectly adapted to support heavy dynamic loads, and presents many benefits such as requiring an overall lower backfill volume as compared to other modular wall alternatives.



A precast retaining wall system, TechWall™ combines the advantages of counterfort with the quality and effectiveness of precast concrete. A great fit for sites with soil bearing capacities allowing for shallow foundations, TechWall™ can also be combined with piling solutions to accommodate different types of soil. Sustainable, cost-effective, and quick to install, TechWall™ may just be the ideal solution for your project needs.



Resulting from decades of research and development, TechSpan® is a buried precast concrete arch system designed to accommodate high fills, heavy live loads, and alternating loading conditions. With a small footprint and easy and quick to install, TechSpan® is ideal for mining, industrial, and railway applications, it is gaining popularity in many different markets. See the many uses of our precast arch system.

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