Mechanically Stabilized Earth (MSE) Walls and Reinforced Soil Slopes: A Sustainable Solution for Earth Retaining Structures

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14 July 2023

Mechanically Stabilized Earth (MSE) Walls and Reinforced Soil Slopes: A Sustainable Solution for Earth Retaining Structures

Discover the potential of MSE (Mechanically-Stabilized Earth) walls and RSS (Reinforced Soil Slopes) as they revolutionize the field of construction. With their superior load-bearing capacity, resistance to seismic forces, and streamlined construction process, MSE walls and RSS slopes offer efficient and stable solutions for a variety of projects.

MSE (Mechanically Stabilized Earth) walls and RSS (Reinforced Soil Slopes) are innovative construction techniques that involve the use of reinforcement between compacted soil layers. These methods are employed to create various earth structures such as retaining walls, bridge abutments, embankments, and steep, yet stable slopes.


The advantages of MSE walls are manifold, including their economic viability, ease of construction, and rapidity in completing projects with minimal disruptions to traffic and other services. This has made MSE walls a popular and preferred choice among retaining wall systems. With a wide range of materials and customizable design and construction options, MSE walls have emerged as one of the most sought-after earth retaining systems.


The combination of fascia elements, back-fill, and the reinforcing system in MSE walls forms a gravity retaining structure that relies on the self-weight of the reinforced soil mass. This self-weight enables the structure to resist lateral pressure from the earth, as well as various loads such as service loads, seismic forces, and hydrostatic pressure.

The advantages of MSE walls and RSS slopes extend to several aspects, making them a favored and preferred choice for retaining wall systems. These benefits include:

  • Superior load-bearing capacity: MSE walls can be specifically designed to withstand extremely heavy loads, such as bridge abutment footings, crane loads, service loads, and more. They provide robust support for demanding construction requirements.
  • Resistance to seismic and dynamic forces: MSE walls are engineered to resist seismic and dynamic forces effectively. They transfer the bearing pressure over a wide area, ensuring stability and durability even in regions prone to earthquakes.
  • Expedited construction: Compared to conventional retaining walls, MSE walls offer faster construction times. Their efficient construction process allows for quicker project completion, reducing disruptions and saving time.

  • Reduced site preparation and suitability for confined areas: MSE walls require less site preparation compared to other types of retaining walls. This makes them suitable for construction in confined areas where conventional retaining walls may be impractical or impossible to implement.
  • Elimination of supports, finishes, and curing time: MSE walls do not require additional supports or finishes, and there is no need for curing time. This streamlines the construction process, resulting in time and cost savings.
  • Effective drainage and reduced hydrostatic pressure: The granular backfill material used in MSE walls enables free drainage, reducing hydrostatic pressure. This contributes to the overall stability and longevity of the structure.

  • Customizable design and simplified construction: MSE walls can be customized to fit any desired geometry, offering flexibility in design. The construction process is relatively straightforward and does not necessitate heavy machinery or specialized workers.
  • Adaptability to obstructions: Any obstructions within the backfilled areas can be managed by adjusting the angle of the reinforcing elements. This adaptability allows for efficient construction around existing obstacles.
  • Excellent service life in extreme loading and complex applications: MSE walls demonstrate remarkable durability and longevity in handling extreme loading conditions and complex applications, ensuring reliable performance over time.

We are excited to offer our expertise in the design and construction of MSE walls and slopes. Take advantage of the following support options we provide:

  • Free download of MacStar W
    Access our software solution specifically developed for civil and geotechnical engineers involved in the design of MSE walls and RSS. Download it for free and harness its capabilities.


  • Schedule Online Training
    Enroll in our online training program focused on the “Design of Mechanically-Stabilized Earth Wall and Reinforced Soil Slope Using Maccaferri’s MacStar.” Expand your knowledge and skills in this field through our comprehensive training sessions.


  • Request a Call from Maccaferri’s Technical Engineer
    If you have a project that requires MSE wall expertise, our experienced technical engineer is ready to assist you. Request a call to discuss your project requirements and receive professional guidance.


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