Soil nailing evolved from the New Austrian Tunneling method which is a system for underground excavations in rock.
This method consists of passive steel reinforcement in the rock followed by the application of reinforced concrete. This concept of combining passive steel reinforcement and concrete has also been applied to the stabilization of rock slopes since the early 1960s.
The first application of soil nailing was implemented in 1972 for a railroad widening project near Versailles, France.
Soil nails were used to stabilize an 18 meter (59 ft) high slope consisting of sandy soil. This method proved to be more cost-effective, while at the same time cutting down the construction time when compared to other conventional support methods.
The United States first used soil nailing in 1976 for the support of a 13.7 meter deep foundation excavation in dense sands that contain a significant amount of silt.
Soil nailing was implemented in the expansion of The Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland, Oregon. This retaining system was produced in approximately half the time at about 85% of the cost of conventional retaining systems.
In short, the major advantage of soil nail walls is their cost-effectiveness over other alternatives. When conventional soil nailing construction procedures are used, soil nail walls are much more affordable than concrete gravity walls and similarly as well as more cost-effective than ground anchor walls.
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